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Published on Sat, 23rd Mar 2019 08:27
The House of Parliament library have just provided information about planning appeals in England; what can be appealed, who can appeal and other routes of address for people unhappy with planning decisions.
See here for more information. ...
New advice from Government
Published on Wed, 20th Mar 2019 12:32
Note that the Ministry of Housing has issued some guidance recently:-
EEA nationals in the UK: access to social housing and homelessness assistance in a no deal scenario
New Act starts today
Published on Wed, 20th Mar 2019 09:35
The new Fitness for Habitation Act commences today (20/3/19)
See here for more details. ...
Security of tenants and landlords in the private rented sector
Published on Sat, 16th Mar 2019 12:41
The Centre for Social Justice published Putting down roots – improving security for renting families and private landlords. The report states: “The rules governing the sector have simply not adapted to the seismic demographic changes it has experienced. And the prevailing culture of insecurity has h...
New guidance on planning
Published on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 16:00
The Government has today (15/3/19) announced a series of documents on planning.
When is permission required? Sets out when planning permission is required and different types of planning permission which may be granted.
Permission in principle This guidance provides information about permi...
Further High Court ruling on Right to Rent Scheme.
Published on Fri, 15th Mar 2019 16:00
Two weeks ago the High ruled that the current Right to Rent checks were unlawful.
See our news item on this.
Today (15/3/19) the High has also ruled that when a tenant loses their Right to Remain the notice issued to inform them (a Notice of Letting to Disqualified Persons (NLDP)) failed many publ...
Brokenshire hails package to build homes and opportunities in communities
Published on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 11:00
The Ministry of Housing have released more details of the housing package announced by the Chancellor in his recent Spring Statement.
In it they state that the next wave of building will be:-
Old Oak North - £250 million to build nearly 13,000 new homes can be built close to the new HS2 railw...
Selective licensing of private landlords (England & Wales)
Published on Thu, 14th Mar 2019 08:27
The House of Commons has just published a briefing paper on Selective Licensing.
Their announcement said:-
This briefing paper explains the history and operation of selective licensing schemes for private rented properties since local authorities in England and Wales acquired the power to introduc...
TENANCY (DEPOSITS AND ARBITRATION) BILL
Published on Wed, 13th Mar 2019 15:54
Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton MP) was today given permission to bring forward a new bill regarding tenancy deposits.
The motion he proposed was:-
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish a single custodial tenancy deposit scheme; to provide for that scheme to invest deposits; to require...
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018: guidance
Published on Fri, 8th Mar 2019 12:04
On 6 March 2019 the MHCLG published three separate guides to help, respectively, tenants, landlords and local authorities understand the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, which comes into force on 20 March 2019.
For all three guides, click here. For the Act itself, click here.
New rules to better protect renters' money
Published on Thu, 7th Mar 2019 17:15
The Government have today (7/3/19) announced confirmation that all agents will have to belong to a Client Money Protection Scheme from April 1st.
Details can be seen here, stating:-
New regulations will protect tenants’ and landlords’ money from theft or misuse while being held by property ag...
Leasehold high-rise flats: who pays for fire safety work?
Published on Thu, 7th Mar 2019 12:06
On 6 March 2019 the House of Commons Library published a briefing on the debate as to who is responsible for paying for fire safety works on blocks of flats in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
For the briefing, click here.
Right to rent: ministerial response to judicial review judgment
Published on Tue, 5th Mar 2019 12:09
A Minister of State at the Home Office has released a written statement regarding the recent ruling of the High Court regarding the Right to Rent Checks.
The minister’s statement said (in part):“We disagree with this finding and the Home Office has been granted permission to appeal all aspects of t...
High Court rules “Right to Rent” breaches human rights!
Published on Fri, 1st Mar 2019 12:50
The High Court have today ruled the requirement for landlords to conduct a Right to Rent on all potential occupants as unlawful.
Since 2016 it has been the responsibility of a landlord or agent to check the immigration status of their tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “r...
Improving the home buying and selling process in England
Published on Wed, 27th Feb 2019 13:27
The Commons Library have provided a briefing paper giving an overview of the home buying and selling process in England, stakeholder concerns with the current process, and Government proposals to improve the process and make it "quicker, cheaper and less stressful".
The paper also provides a compa...
Social Housing statistics
Published on Wed, 27th Feb 2019 13:18
See the latest statistics released by the Government:-
Direction on rent standard from 2015. This direction will apply to standards set by the social housing regulator in relation to rent for registered providers from 1 April 2015.
Direction on rent standard from 2020. This direction wi...
Government planning application table
Published on Sat, 23rd Feb 2019 13:16
See the latest data from the Government on planning applications received. ...
New report on housing infrastructure
Published on Fri, 22nd Feb 2019 18:10
The Houses of Parliament have recently put out a short report on the impact of housing infrastructure. We reprint it below:-
When new housing is built, can communities get the infrastructure to go with it?
New housing often creates a need for more infrastructure – schools, GP surgeries and so on...
Brighton councillor Anne Meadows quits Labour over 'anti-Semitism'
Published on Wed, 20th Feb 2019 19:15
Councillor Anne Meadows today (20/2/19) quit the Labour Party over the recent antisemitism row.
Councillor Meadows was the chair of the Housing Committee, and has already been removed from that position on the council website.
This move means that the Labour party now lose their majority to the Co...
The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
Published on Tue, 19th Feb 2019 13:32
The House of Commons have produced a report on the HHSRS.
This is part of the Government review into the HHSRS, which iHowz are participating in....
Private rented housing: the rent control debate
Published on Sat, 16th Feb 2019 09:30
The House of Commons Research Library has produced a report on the impact of regulating tenancies.
A summary can be seen here, and the full report here.
See also the Mayor of London's plans to develop ‘rent control’...
Social Housing - a new report
Published on Fri, 15th Feb 2019 13:31
The Local Government Association reported that new analysis commissioned by the association revealed that “building 100,000 government-funded social rent homes a year over the past two decades would have cut billions from the housing benefit bill, provided higher disposable income for tenants and ge...
Published on Fri, 15th Feb 2019 09:30
The Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) have examined the two different routes to possession. The two routes are County Court route and the High Court route to possession. The government is holding a consultation on aligning the two routes which will include detail such as the following:
Fire Door investigation
Published on Thu, 14th Feb 2019 17:45
The government is undertaking an investigation into the fire door industry following concerns about the consistency of flat front entrance fire doors against the required performance standards.
More information can be seen here.
They have also issued summary test results from the government’s inve...
Various announcements from the Government on new homes
Published on Thu, 14th Feb 2019 16:30
The Government has today (14/2/19) announced to build over 10,000 properties on Ministry of Defence land on 7 military bases across the country.
In London, more than 1,500 new homes will be built at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park thanks to a £78 million loan helping to fund the development.
National non-domestic rates collected by councils
Published on Wed, 13th Feb 2019 17:15
This collection brings together all documents relating to national non-domestic rates collected by councils.
Tenant Fees Act (2019) - more details
Published on Wed, 13th Feb 2019 10:56
The Tenants Fees Act has got Royal Assent, and will become law from June 1st 2019
Any AST from June 1st will be severely limited on the fees that can be charged to tenants. Note that this applies to landlords and agents, and will also apply to all existing AST's after June 1st 2020 meaning any pre...
Tenant Fees Bill becomes an Act
Published on Tue, 12th Feb 2019 16:45
The Tenant Fees Bill has now received Royal Assent. A statement from the Government says that 'from 1 June the Act will improve security for tenants, including:
capping security deposits at no more than 5 weeks’ rent and holding deposits at no more than 1 week’s rent. It also sets out the propo...
HMRC publish help for small businesses
Published on Tue, 5th Feb 2019 09:27
You might want to see some helpful videos and webinars from HMRC.
They have said:-
Our live webinars are free and interactive – you can ask questions using the on-screen text box. Book your place now.
Record keeping for the self-employed: This webinar covers the basic principles of keeping good b...
Making it easier for leaseholders to manage their properties: Law Commission
Published on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 12:17
Making it easier for leaseholders to manage their properties: Law Commission The Law Commission has released a consultation paper comprising proposals designed to make it quicker and easier for leaseholders to take control of the day-to-day management of their building. The proposals include...
English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018
Published on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 09:48
On 31 January 2019 the MHCLG published the English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018. The main findings are:
Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the fifth year in a row: Of the estimated 23.2 million households in England, 14.8 million or 64 per cent were owner occupiers.
In 2017-18, 34 per ce...
English Private Landlord Survey
Published on Fri, 1st Feb 2019 09:46
On 31 January 2019 the MHCLG published the English Private Landlord Survey. The main report states that since the last survey in 2010, the private rented sector has undergone substantial growth and change. The number of households in the sector rose by 25 per cent between 2010-11 and 2017-18, from 3...
Government announces extra budget for affordable home
Published on Wed, 30th Jan 2019 20:18
The Government has today (30/1/19) announced a £500k budget for affordable housing.
This includes a proposed 11,000 new properties, including social rent across the country, and they are backing the building of rooftop properties in London.
It is intended the first tranche will be completed by thi...
Private Rented Sector Electrical Safety
Published on Tue, 29th Jan 2019 13:10
The Government have today (29/1/19) issued the findings of the working group on Electrical Safety in the PRS.
The Housing Minister also announced they propose to 'tighten up the rules on Electrical safety to better protect renters.'
However this is not the first time they have made this annou...
Management of leasehold properties: Law Commission proposals
Published on Tue, 29th Jan 2019 10:10
Law Commission have released a consultation paper comprising proposals that are designed to make it quicker and
easier for leaseholders to take control of the day-to-day management of their building. The proposals include:
Extending the qualifying criteria so that leasehold houses, not just fla...
Thanet warned about their local plan
Published on Mon, 28th Jan 2019 15:23
The Secretary of State for Housing has recently (28/1/19) written to Thanet Council about their Local Plan.
The details can be seen here, which has told Thanet:-
I am also directing Thanet District Council to, within eight weeks of the date of this letter, amend its Local Development Scheme (da...
Landlords will have to join a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service
Published on Thu, 24th Jan 2019 12:00
The Secretary of State has today (24/1/19) announced the intention for all landlords to have to belong to a Housing Complaints Procedure.
More details can be found here, but in summary is:-
a new Housing Complaints Resolution Service will be developed with a new Redress Reform Working Group made...
Report analysing the impact of selective licensing schemes
Published on Thu, 24th Jan 2019 10:18
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) published a report analysing the impact of selective licensing schemes run by 20 councils across England. It finds that selective licensing schemes help to tackle poor standards in the private rented ...
Buy to Let bubble has burst
Published on Wed, 23rd Jan 2019 14:48
A recent article in the Mail has revealed the extent of problems for small landlords.
Entitled 'How Britain's £239bn buy-to-let bubble burst: Our devastating report reveals landlords ruined by tax penalties - and their pension plans hit' it goes on to list:-
A tax crackdown on rental income has ...
Housing market on hold for now
Published on Fri, 18th Jan 2019 14:39
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have just released data warning that whilst demand for rented housing from tenants “held more or less steady for the third month running”, the number of landlord instructions “declined once again, rounding off a year in which they have fallen in all ...
Consultation on specialist Housing Courts ends soon
Published on Thu, 17th Jan 2019 11:13
Considering the case for a Housing Court: call for evidence
The Government consultation on the possibility of Housing Courts ends soon, and we urge you to take part. Details can be found here, and the actual questionnaire here.
Tenant Fees Ban comes into force from 1 June 2019
Published on Tue, 15th Jan 2019 17:58
Today the government announced that the Tenant Fees Bill will come into force in England on 1 June 2019. Following today’s Third Reading in the House of Lords, the Bill is likely to receive Royal Assent in the coming weeks.
Speaking to the Lords, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said:
“We need to enable...
Housing Minister announces funding for councils to crack down on rogue landlords
Published on Mon, 14th Jan 2019 10:40
The Government has announced the release of £2.4m to help Councils tackle 'Rogue' landlords, or as we prefer to call them, Criminals.
Details can be seen here, but in summary:-
More than 50 councils to benefit from nearly £2.4 million to ramp up action against the minority of irresponsible lan...
Move On Fund
Published on Sun, 13th Jan 2019 10:47
The Government has announced a fund of £50M to be used to help reduce Rough Sleeping.
Details can been seen here, note that the fund does not cover London. ...
Changes to Universal Credit
Published on Fri, 11th Jan 2019 11:22
The Secretary of State (Amber Rudd) has today (Jan 11th) made a speech on some small amendments to Universal Credit.
The speech can be seen here, but in summary covered:-
reviewing the way claimants are migrated from benefits to UC;
introducing a new system to allow direct payments to landlord...
The end of the Section 21?
Published on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 18:26
In a recent Report, Shelter has called for all private renters to be given permanent tenancies as a legal minimum. The calls come in Building for our future: A vision for social housing which makes 23 recommendations designed to shake up the social and private rented sectors.
The report says: “...
The Tenants Fees Bill
Published on Wed, 9th Jan 2019 17:57
To bring you up to date with this Bill. It is proposed to cover:-
Permitted payments would include:
Rent. Additionally there will be a ban on setting rent at a higher level for the first portion of the tenancy and then dropping it down afterwards. This is to prevent landlords or agents trying ...
HOMES (FITNESS FOR HUMAN HABITATION) ACT
Published on Thu, 20th Dec 2018 15:14
This act has passed into law on December 20th
It is scheduled to come into force from 20th March 2019 and will affect new and renewed fixed-term tenancies in England from this date. New and renewed periodic and secure tenancies will be brought under the scope 12 months’ from today (December 20th 2...
Section 21 evictions: parliamentary debate
Published on Sat, 8th Dec 2018 21:13
On 6 December the House of Commons held a debate on the use of section 21 evictions in the private rented sector.
Opening the debate, Karen Buck MP (Labour, Westminster North – Vice Chair of the APPG for the Private Rented Sector) said the PRS has changed ‘beyond recognition’, citing the ‘shadow ...
Tenant Fees Bill: security deposit cap reduced
Published on Thu, 6th Dec 2018 21:02
On 4 December 2018 the MHCLG announced that the Tenant Fees Bill, which was due to have its report stage in the House of Lords on 11 December 2018, will be amended so that the maximum amount tenants have to pay as a security deposit will be reduced from six weeks’ rent to five in respect of properti...
Landlords now waiting 5 months for possesion
Published on Fri, 23rd Nov 2018 11:20
Kevin Hollinrake MP tabled a question requesting information on the average waiting time for landlord re-possessions.
The Government has clarified that the average time taken for a landlord to repossess a property was 22 weeks in 2017, up from the 16.1 weeks. Note that this figure is nearly 6 mon...
Draft Brexit agreement
Published on Fri, 16th Nov 2018 09:41
For anyone suffering from insomnia we have attached the Brexit draft agreement here for you to see, all 585 pages....
Statistics on net additional dwellings released
Published on Thu, 15th Nov 2018 11:14
The MHCLG have just released a report in net additional dwellings.
The report can be seen here, but in summary is:-
Annual housing supply in England amounted to 222,190 net additional dwellings in 2017-18, up 2 per cent on 2016- 17.
The 222,190 net additions in 2017-18 resulted from 195,290 new...
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill: Briefing for Lords Stage
Published on Wed, 14th Nov 2018 15:24
A House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill on 23 November 2018.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill is a private member’s bill introduced in the House of Commons by Karen Buck ...
James Brokenshire unveils Housing Court proposals
Published on Tue, 13th Nov 2018 17:59
Landlords and tenants to receive faster and more effective justice in the event of property disputes.
A press release from the Ministry of Housing has announced:-
Communities Secretary sets out proposals to provide greater access to justice for both landlords and tenants in the event of disputes...
James Brokenshire appoints new Homes England board member
Published on Mon, 12th Nov 2018 18:07
Communities Secretary appoints Duncan Sutherland to the board of Homes England.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has appointed Duncan Sutherland to the board of Homes England, as the agency continues its key role in making the housing market work for everyone.
Since its launch in ...
Landlords accused of ‘illegally’ withholding deposits
Published on Mon, 12th Nov 2018 17:24
In an article in the Mail on Sunday it was reported that many landlords have been accused of “routinely and illegally” withholding deposits from tenants and subjecting many people living in private rented accommodation to “surprise evictions”.
The article pointed to “evidence from multiple sources”...
Published on Fri, 9th Nov 2018 17:32
The release of the UK Finance (CML) Arrears and Possessions quarterly statistics show that home owner mortgage arrears remain at historic lows. However, the number of buy to let mortgages with significant arrears (10 per cent or more of the outstanding balance) is up 3 per cent on last year....
LA's given grant to update 'Rogues database'
Published on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 18:14
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has a small amount of grant funding available to local authorities. The fund is to develop best practice amongst local authorities as they undertake enforcement activities to raise standards in the private rented sector.
They want to encoura...
Landlord possession statistics – England and Wales
Published on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 15:30
The Ministry of Justice has today (Nov 8th) published quarterly national statistics on possession claim actions in county courts by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords.
The statistics cover the period from July to September 2018. Landlord possession claims (31,658) and orders for pos...
iHowz gives interview
Published on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 18:28
Peter Littlewood participated in an interview with Property Tribes about Brighton licensing.
See the interview here ...
Selective Licensing put back in Brighton
Published on Fri, 2nd Nov 2018 08:27
After representation from iHowz the Secretary of State for Housing has today (Nov 2nd) withdrawn his support for the Selective Licensing Scheme in Brighton
See more details in the iHowz press release
Note that the existing HMO Licensing schemes are not affected by this decision...
Published on Tue, 30th Oct 2018 09:00
The main matters affecting UK landlords are:-
Capital Gains Tax - people who rent out a property which was previously their main residence were eligible for lettings relief. This meant accidental landlords, who own a property but no longer reside there, are given a tax break when they come to sel...
iHowz newsletter just published
Published on Mon, 29th Oct 2018 09:09
The latest version of the iHowz newsletter has just been published.
Email us if you didn't get yours...
The Prime Minister agrees that rogues database needs to be open
Published on Sat, 27th Oct 2018 16:03
It has been reported that the Prime Minister intends to allow tenants access to the 'Rogues Database'
It has always been a problem that the database is only available to Local Authority staff. Whilst this is a step in the right direction, but still doesn't allow landlords and agents access.
Government releases funding to replace unsafe cladding
Published on Wed, 17th Oct 2018 15:00
The government has today (October 17th 2018) released the first tranche of an estimated £400 million to remove and replace unsafe cladding on social sector high-rise housing.
See here for more details.
Empty Homes Week
Published on Mon, 15th Oct 2018 14:21
This week is Empty Homes Week (15 to 21 October).
To coincide Empty Homes has published its 2018 edition of Empty Homes in England which analyses and explains the latest official data available on long-term empty homes in England.
There are still over 200,000 long-term (more than six months) empt...
Allowing Residents Associations to request information about tenants
Published on Mon, 15th Oct 2018 09:00
The MHCLG have today (15 October 2018) published their response to the consultation related to proposed secondary legislation under section 29A Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 - Tenants’ Associations: power to request information about tenants.
The government considers that new means by whi...
Universal Credit: landlord request for a managed payment or rent arrears deduction
Published on Fri, 12th Oct 2018 14:15
The DWP have today (12 October 2018) published an updated version of the landlord application for a managed payment or rent arrears deduction.
Recent updates have amended the link to 'Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payment Arrangements' guidance and added new versions of the English UC4...
Plans to raise standards for agents
Published on Fri, 12th Oct 2018 14:11
The Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has today (12 October 2018) announced plans to raise standards across the property agent sector.
Lord Best will chair the working group, looking tol make recommendations to better support homebuyers, sellers, landlords, leaseholders and tenants.
The options wil...
New fund for homeless announced
Published on Wed, 10th Oct 2018 14:06
The MHCLG today (10 October 2018) launched a £20 million fund – the Private Rented Sector Access Fund – which will allow councils to put in place new schemes so that those at risk of homelessness will have support to secure their own tenancy.
The fund is designed to help up to 9,000 people who are,...
Many councils don't understand new HMO rules
Published on Tue, 9th Oct 2018 15:13
It would appear that only a minority of Local Authorities are ready for the new HMO regulations.
Touchstone , a Doncaster-based property investment firm have carried out a Freedom of Information request to all Local Authorities about their readiness for the changes to Mandatory Licensing, and have ...
Prime Minister 'answers' question about 3 year tenancies
Published on Fri, 5th Oct 2018 20:41
There have been rumours of the Treasury and Number 10 killing off the proposed (minimum) 3 year tenancies.
This was raised at PMQ’s (Prime Minister Questions) today (Oct 5th) by Labour MP Helen Hayes – Dulwich and West Norwood, who asked:- “It has been reported this morning that the Treasury and Nu...
Party conferences - Conservatives
Published on Thu, 4th Oct 2018 09:00
The Conservative Party - 1-3 October in Birmingham
Foreign NationalsThe Government wants to make it harder for foreign nationals to buy homes in Britain.
Mrs May announced plans for a stamp duty surcharge of between 1 per cent and 3 per cent to be imposed on sales of property to foreign nationals ...
Mandatory Licensing changes today
Published on Mon, 1st Oct 2018 09:00
Don't forget the new rule for mandatory licensing commence today (Oct 1st)
The background can be seen here, but please note that the rules covering an HMO have not changed, just the rules regarding Mandatory Licensing.
An HMO is a unit being occupied by 3 or more people who are not r...
Party conferences - Labour
Published on Thu, 27th Sep 2018 09:00
Labour 23-26 September in Liverpool1) Renter’s Unions
The Labour government would back new unions for renters and fund them in every part of the country2) Levy on holiday homes
Holiday home owners would face a new £560 million tax to tackle homelessness and address rising wealth inequality under t...
Lib Dems rattle the rental cage.
Published on Wed, 19th Sep 2018 13:03
The Lib Dems have recently held their annual conference and have passed a motion calling for many changes to be made in the PRS.
Their concerns were stated: “Too many people have been forced into the private rented sector which now provides one fifth of all homes in the UK, a third of which fail to...
Party conferences - Lib Dems
Published on Wed, 19th Sep 2018 09:00
15-18 September in Brightonthe main headings for property are:-
1) Build targets & land use
The conference called for the Government to deliver its commitment to building 300,000 homes a year by, firstly, ensuring the workforce in the construction industry is sufficient to buil...
Could houses prices fall by a third?
Published on Mon, 17th Sep 2018 10:23
Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England has warned that houses prices could fall by over a third in the event of a no deal Brexit.
He addressed the cabinet meeting last week called specifically to discuss Brexit and warned that he believed house prices would fall by 35%, he also repeated t...
Brighton and Hove given permission to license all properties
Published on Fri, 14th Sep 2018 10:14
A new ‘Selective Licensing Scheme’ for private rented homes in 12 central and coastal wards in the city has been given the go ahead by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The Selective Licensing Scheme will be introduced early next year for all private rented homes...
Rumours of three year tenancies killed off
Published on Sat, 8th Sep 2018 12:55
The Secretary of State for Housing (SoS) had recently concluded a consultation on three year tenancies.
The Sun (September 4th) reported that the Treasury and Downing Street had killed the plan off.
The Treasury opposed the measure because it feared it will scare off the larger investors. Downing...
Benefit freeze puts private renting out of reach for low-income tenants and risks fuelling homelessness
Published on Fri, 7th Sep 2018 16:52
Last week the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) published a report showing benefit tenants are now increasingly unable to afford to rent.
It gives the background to the benefits freeze, and states ‘Research from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) showed that more than 90 per cent of Local ...
Government ‘plans a fundamental review' of Help to Buy
Published on Mon, 3rd Sep 2018 17:24
Today (3 September) several news media reported that the government is planning a fundamental review of the Help to Buy scheme.
This reportedly follows concerns that the scheme has contributed to a rise in house prices and has helped “wealthy people upgrade their homes”. For coverage in The Indepe...
CAB calls for longer tenancies
Published on Thu, 30th Aug 2018 17:03
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has recently (August 24th) published a report.
Entitled Touch and go: How to protect private renters from retaliatory eviction in England it concludes that tenants who have received a section 21 notice, when compared those who have not, are:
Over twice as likely...
Right to Rent review
Published on Wed, 29th Aug 2018 17:18
The House of Commons Library has today (Aug 29th) published a research briefing providing an overview of Right to Rent checks which must be carried out by private landlords/agents in England.
It reviews the current situation reminding landlords of their obligations to ensure their occupiers are all...
Some Local Authorities able to borrow more
Published on Thu, 23rd Aug 2018 17:14
The Housing Ministry (MHCLG) have recently updated its rules regarding borrowing criteria.
Local Authorities in an area of high rents have been invited to bid for additional borrowing to build new council housing. The Ministry has added the document Housing revenue account additional borrowing prog...
Court form N5B: England
Published on Fri, 17th Aug 2018 12:08
The MoJ have today (17/8/18) published a new N5B England: Claim possession of a property located wholly in England (accelerated procedure) was updated.
For the updated form, click here ...
You are running out of time
Published on Thu, 16th Aug 2018 16:22
Time is running out for you to take part in the consultation of mandatory 3 year lets.
The Governments consultation on mandatory 3 year lets is finishing soon.
You can see more in our last news item, and the consultation can be seen here – your opportunity to take part in the consultation ends ve...
iHowz member wins at High Court
Published on Wed, 15th Aug 2018 17:54
The High Court recently reversed a prosecution against our member, Mr Gaskin.
Mr Gaskin objected to giving a full list of information to Richmond Council, such as names of current tenants and the terms of their tenancy agreements as he considered this to be excessive.
The High Court agreed with M...
Index of Private Housing Rental Prices
Published on Wed, 15th Aug 2018 16:10
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report on rents just released.
The ONS has just (August 15th) released its monthly Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, Great Britain: July 2018.
The main points are:-
Private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 0.9% in the 12 ...
Social Housing Green Paper announced
Published on Tue, 14th Aug 2018 15:51
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, has today (August 14th) launched the Social Housing Green Paper heralded in his Department’s press release as a “new deal for social housing residents”. The Paper comes some 18 months after the Housin...
Unemployment benefits by constituency
Published on Tue, 14th Aug 2018 15:41
The Government issues benefit figures by constituency
This report was published August 14th, and provides figures for the number of people claiming unemployment benefits by parliamentary constituency, as well as a summary of the latest labour market statistics for the UK as a whole.
A summary can ...
Published on Tue, 14th Aug 2018 15:19
Are rents 'soaring'?
Last week saw the release of a RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) report on how the sales of rental property are affecting rents.
Entitled Landlord instructions fall as rent forecasts edge up it highlights the fact that instructions to RICS surveyors by landlords pu...
Court decides that property licensing fees must be charged in two stages and the names of occupants cannot be demanded on a licence renewal application
Published on Fri, 10th Aug 2018 19:19
As a result of two cases, a recent one Peter Gaskin vs Richmond upon Thames, and Hemmings vs Westminster City Council (Nov 2017) when a Local Authority starts a Licensing scheme:-
they must charge the fees in two tranches:-
an initial application fee, just to cover the cost of processing, an...
Rental Deposits vs Insurance
Published on Sun, 5th Aug 2018 14:57
The Centre For Policy Studies has today (Aug 5th) published a new report on the taking of deposits.
Entitled Down with deposits: the case for rental insurance it proposes that the Government should promote an insurance scheme to avoid the need to take a deposit.
It argues that this would save the ...
New advice on fire doors
Published on Tue, 31st Jul 2018 17:12
Government advice for building owners.
The Government has published an updated version of its advice note for those responsible for the fire safety of residential flats in respect of the fire and smoke resistance performance of flat entrance front doors.
It has been developed to support those ...
Which issues a report on tenants view of the PRS
Published on Fri, 20th Jul 2018 14:30
Reform of the private rental sector: the consumer view
Which has just issued a report on their findings of tenants views of rental.
The report can be seen here, but the key recommendations are:
The government must introduce a legal requirement for all landlords to be registered with the relev...
Review of the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations 2015 - Government response
Published on Fri, 20th Jul 2018 14:12
The Government has today (July 20th) has issued a response to an earlier review of the regulations covering Carbon Monoxide, and Smoke alarms.
The review can be seen here, but in summary:-
the Government is considering extending the requirements so CO alarms have to be fitted for all fuel burn...
Major ruling for HMO letting agent
Published on Tue, 17th Jul 2018 12:18
Two agencies have been fined over £42,000 when they were found to have been managing HMO's - even though they only took the first month's rent and the deposit.
In a case heard Friday July 13th Camden Council successfully took the managing agent Leycam and the letting agent Citydeal Estates (London)...
Rent a room relief
Published on Mon, 16th Jul 2018 20:00
At the end of last year the Treasury consulted on 'Rent a Room Relief'.
They have just published the summary, which can be seen here. Note that it calls for comments on a proposal for a new occupancy clause - see the last para below.
The Executive summary is:-
The government published a call for...
Universal Credit and landlords: guides
Published on Sat, 14th Jul 2018 11:57
The Department for Work and Pensions has made minor amendments to certain of the guides explaining what Universal Credit means for landlords. The amendments are as follows:
10 July 2018 – added information about Universal Credit claimants transferring to full service declaring and re-verifying th...
English Housing Survey 2016 to 2017
Published on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 11:44
The English Housing Survey was published today (July 12th)
The report can be seen here, but in summary:-
private rented sector In 2016-17, 4.7 million households were renting in the private sector. This represents 20% of all households in England. The sector has more than doubled in size since 19...
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s annual report
Published on Thu, 12th Jul 2018 11:40
Today (12 July) the Ombudsman published its annual report. It shows that in 2017-18 19,215 complaints and enquiries were received. Of these, 12% related to housing issues in which the Ombudsman made 778 decisions. During the year the Ombudsman published 42 public interest reports of which seven rela...
Universal Credit, tenants and landlords
Published on Wed, 11th Jul 2018 11:55
On 11 July 2018 the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA) and the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) published a joint report highlighting the increasing burden of debt that Universal Credit is causing for tenants and landlords, and calling for Government to slow down the roll-out and fix t...
How to ... guides updated
Published on Tue, 10th Jul 2018 11:30
The Government have made some minor amendments to the How to Rent Guide issued June 26th.
We have updated the version on our web site. Make sure you issue the correct version.
Note that you are also now unable to issue by sending the link to your tenant(s), you must now send the actual guide eith...
Kit Malthouse named as new housing minister
Published on Mon, 9th Jul 2018 15:45
A new housing minister has been announced as Kit Malthouse, Tory MP for North West Hampshire.
Previously he was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance at the Department of Work and Pensions, with particular emphasis on the implementation of Univ...
Housing Minister moved
Published on Mon, 9th Jul 2018 08:30
Dominic Raab has been moved from his role as housing minister after just six months in the post.
He has been promoted to the role of Brexit Secretary following the resignation of David Davies last night (8/7/18).
To date no new Housing Minister has been announced, but who ever it is will mean the ...
Potential mandatory long term tenancies
Published on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 14:44
Since the introduction of assured shorthold tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1988, tenancies of 6 to 12 months have become the norm.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has just launched a consultation on “Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies in the Private Ren...
Longer term tenancies being proposed.
Published on Mon, 2nd Jul 2018 16:51
The new Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire has today (June 2nd) published a consultation on longer term tenancies.
Brokenshire said: “It is deeply unfair when renters are forced to uproot their lives or find new schools for their children at short notice due to the terms of their ren...
New How To Rent Guide
Published on Tue, 26th Jun 2018 11:52
The Government has today (June 26th) announced a new 'How to Rent Guide'. After this date this is the guide that must be issued to all new tenants.
Note that a Section 21 will fail at court if the correct 'How To Rent' hasn't been iussed. It is not necessary to re-issue this guide if you have alr...
New series of fact sheets from the Government
Published on Tue, 26th Jun 2018 11:30
In addition to the new ‘How To Rent Guide’ that must be issued to all new tenants, the Minister of Housing has also released 3 other guides:-
How to let
This new guide will help private landlords learn more about their key legal responsibilities and best practice when letting a property, including...
Government confirms new licensing rules
Published on Wed, 20th Jun 2018 11:55
The Government has today (June 20th) has published the changes for licensing,
They have confirmed the changes to Mandatory Licensing:-
from 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to 5 or more people – from 2 or more separate households – must be licensed by their local housing authori...
Government announces review of Selective Licensing
Published on Wed, 20th Jun 2018 11:13
Government is today (20 June 2018) announcing a review to look at how selective licensing is used and find out how well it is working.
In areas where selective licensing applies, landlords must apply for a licence if they want to rent out a property. This means the council can check whether they ar...
Government publishes key licensing changes to further protect tenants
Published on Wed, 20th Jun 2018 11:10
New guidance for landlords to further protect tenants from poor living conditions has been published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government today (20 June 2018).
Following legislation introduced last month, from 1 October 2018 any landlord who lets a property to 5 or more peop...
Judicial Review granted on Right to Rent policy
Published on Wed, 13th Jun 2018 15:36
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has led a bid for a review of the legality of the Right to Rent checks, arguing that the scheme has prevented some disadvantaged British citizens, those lacking passports and driving licences, have been prevented from obtaining a tenancy, while ...
London’s Landlord and Agent Checker Goes Live
Published on Fri, 8th Jun 2018 16:10
London mayor Sadiq Khan has vowed bad landlords have no hiding place in the capital now every borough council has signed up to his ‘Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker’.
All 33 London Boroughs have agreed to send their prosecution records for inclusion. Unlike the Governments ‘Rogue Database’ the Lon...
English Housing Survey 2016-17
Published on Fri, 8th Jun 2018 16:09
The latest English Housing Survey has just (June 8th) has just been published.
Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the fourth year in a row.
Of the estimated 23.1 million households in England, 14.4 million or 63% were owner occupiers. The proportion of households in owner o...
Client Money Protection for Agents Set to be Mandatory
Published on Wed, 6th Jun 2018 15:14
It has been announced that all property agents will need to belong to a recognised scheme that protects their clients money.
Details can be seen here, but in summary:-
Client money means money received by a property agent in the course of English letting agency work within the meaning of secti...
Number of rented homes drops for the first time in 18 years
Published on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 20:35
A recent report from the Ministry of Housing shows that the number of privately rented homes fell by 46,000 to 4.79 million last year.
This represents the largest drop since 1988, and is blamed on the far reaching tax reforms over the last two years.
David Cox, chief executive of letting agent tra...
iHowz announce the Ashford Landlords Forum
Published on Fri, 1st Jun 2018 09:07
iHowz are proud to present the new Ashford Landlords Forum on Monday June 18th - free entry.
With a good mix of speakers and stands, see the web site for more details...
Landlords property could be consficated
Published on Thu, 19th Apr 2018 07:49
The Government are proposing even more laws for landlords and current ones reviewed.
A report has been issued today (April 19th) by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee, which over recent months has held a series of meetings to hear evidence regarding the PRS.
Update from the Information Commissioners Office
Published on Thu, 12th Apr 2018 13:32
From the regular update from the ICO:-
Updates to the Guide to the GDPR
We have made further updates to our Guide to the GDPR. As well as detailed guidance on legitimate interests, we have also expanded the pages on Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs), data protection officers, the right to...
Published on Fri, 6th Apr 2018 21:30
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) comes into force on May 25th 2018.
If you hold information about anyone on a computer, and they can be recognised from that data you will need to:-
Register with the Information Commissioner’s Office. It is very quick and easy and cost £40 per an...
We've been warning you for some time
Published on Fri, 6th Apr 2018 20:43
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force April 1st.
For more details see here, and here but in essence is that if you have a property with an energy rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ it will not be possible to issue a new AST; note that this also covers any AST going from a Fixed Term to S...
Latest news from HMRC
Published on Wed, 4th Apr 2018 09:30
We've just recieved the latest help from the HMRC:-
HMRC’s online course, 'Letting out property' provides guidance on property lettings which you can refer to at any time. It explains the changes which introduced cash basis for landlords, the use of the mileage rate method for claiming motoring exp...
At last, some good news
Published on Wed, 4th Apr 2018 08:44
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have changed the legislation for Gas Safety Checks.
Gas checks for rental property (CP12’s) will now be allowed to be done 2 months ahead of time whilst retaining the existing renewal date, like the rules of a car MOT.
This will come into force in two days...
New rules for agents announced
Published on Tue, 3rd Apr 2018 08:42
The Government published the results of its consultation on ‘protecting customers in the letting and managing agent market’.
They propose to:-
Introduce a new mandatory code of practice for all letting and managing agents;
Require all agents to obtain a nationally recognised qualificatio...
Homelessness Reduction Act
Published on Sun, 1st Apr 2018 10:00
This Act comes into force on April 3rd. see a summary here.
Whilst you might think it affects you it will. All Local Authorities (LA) will have to deal with anyone coming to them threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days.
This will apply to valid Section 21’s (s21) only, and 56 days is a...
Young people can now claim Universal Credit
Published on Thu, 29th Mar 2018 10:21
In a statement to the House of Commons the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions (Esther McVey) announced that the Government would be reversing the policy of not allowing 19-21 year olds to claim Universal Credit.
Full details can be seen here....
B&H licensing - the SLA applies to court
Published on Tue, 20th Mar 2018 11:21
The SLA have filed an application at the High Court seeking permission to file a complete Judicial Review against the Brighton and Hove decision for borough wide Selective Licensing.
Additionally we have also written to the Secretary of State stating our position on this. See the letter here.
Published on Fri, 16th Mar 2018 18:41
The current on-going consolations are:-
Electrical safety in the private rented sector: Closes on 16 April
Commonhold call for evidence: Closes on 19 AprilNational Planning Policy Framework: Closes on 10 MayNational Planning Policy Guidance: Closes on 10 MaySupporting housing delivery through de...
The Government announces changes to Licensing
Published on Fri, 16th Mar 2018 18:14
In addition to the recent extension of Mandatory Licensing, the Government has just announced proposals for further amendments to HMO licensing.
A draft proposal is to be put before Parliament to propose:-
Prescribe a mandatory licence condition for HMOs that clarifies the minimum sizes for be...
Crackdown on private landlords renting overcrowded and dangerous homes
Published on Thu, 15th Mar 2018 18:35
The Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has announced new plans to stop overcrowding.
Details can be seen here, but in summary are:-
Councils to be given new powers to fine landlords renting overcrowded properties;
limiting bedroom sizes;
landlords will have to supply appropriate ru...
Enveloped Dwellings tax returns must be digital from April
Published on Tue, 13th Mar 2018 09:00
From 1 April 2018, all online Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings returns must be filed using the ATED digital service. Agents and their customers should register with HMRC now to use this service from 1 April 2018 (unless they have already done so).
The old-style online forms will be withdrawn on 31...
Mayor of London publishes draft plan.
Published on Mon, 5th Mar 2018 18:49
The draft plan for London can be seen here, and the BPF response can be seen here.
The highlights of the plan are:-
1. Housing - With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, good planning is vital for growth. The Mayor has ripped up existing pl...
You might NEVER be able to use a Section 21
Published on Thu, 1st Mar 2018 15:47
The new Section 21 (form 6A) was published in the Deregulation Act 2015.
It was intended that the courts would be able to use this S21 to monitor some of the mandatory requirements, thus the court would check that the following had been served correctly:-
Gas safety certificate (CP12) – where ...
Extension of Mandatory Licensing
Published on Mon, 26th Feb 2018 15:37
The Government has announced the expected extension to mandatory licensing.
In a recent statutory Instrument (No 221) it was announced that mandatory licensing would apply to all HMO’s with 5 or more non-related occupants, sharing vital facilities. This will come into place on October 1st 2018.
Additional Powers ruled illegal
Published on Thu, 22nd Feb 2018 16:22
There have been many comments that some of the requirements brought in by Statutory Licensing are unnecessary, because Local Authorities already have powers to deal with problems.
This has now been put to test. In a recent court case (Brown v Hynburn) ruled that a Hynburn Council could not require...
Stop Loan Sharks Newsletter - Winter Issue
Published on Mon, 12th Feb 2018 16:45
Stop Loan Sharks is part of Trading Standards, operating as the Illigal Monry Lending Team.
They seek to investigate and prosecute liiegal money lending, and their work can be seen in their latest newsletter here.
Proceeds of Crime Act used against criminal landlord.
Published on Fri, 2nd Feb 2018 16:25
Brent Council have become the first to use the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) against a criminal landlord.
Harrow Crown Court heard how a property was rented for cash over a five-year period by the tenants who resided in filthy and dangerous living conditions.
The Court heard how tenants were made t...
Right to Rent Scheme being challenged
Published on Fri, 2nd Feb 2018 14:15
There are currently two legal challenges to the Governments controversial Right to Rent checks, whereby a landlord has to ensure all occupants of the their properties have the right to be in this country, and to rent property.
There is a judicial review of the policy being sought by the Joint Coun...
Banning Orders confirmed
Published on Thu, 1st Feb 2018 15:02
The Government have announced that the database of banned landlords and agents will become law in April.
The updated legislation will result in landlords and agents who are convicted of a banning order offence being prohibited from working in the lettings market, whether as a landlord, letting agen...
Date for new rules on HMO confirmed.
Published on Wed, 31st Jan 2018 15:14
In one of first announcements as the new Housing Minister, Dominic Raab has confirmed that the new rules on HMO’s are proposed to come into place in October this year.
In summary it is proposed that all HMO’s with 5 or more occupiers will be subject to mandatory licensing, thus doing away with the ...
Corbyn reacts to ‘Rogue landlords’
Published on Tue, 30th Jan 2018 16:31
Following a report in the Guardian on Sunday which claimed that more than half a million people aged under 35 are estimated to be living in rented properties so hazardous they are likely to lead to residents needing medical attention, Corbyn said that the government is allowing people to live in ha...
The Government has just released the latest English Housing Survey (2016/17)
Published on Sun, 28th Jan 2018 16:15
he headlines are:-
Owner occupation rates remain unchanged for the fourth year in a row.
While the overall rate of owner occupation has not changed in recent years, the composition of the group has: there are more outright owners while the proportion of those buying with a mortgage is down...
URGENT - New version of How to Rent Guide
Published on Thu, 18th Jan 2018 11:15
Please note that the Government have released a new version of the How to Rent Guide.
It removes reference to the now abandoned London Rental Standard.
It is important that you use this version for any new AST’s after this date (January 18th) else any future Section 21 might be invalid at court.
AAT asks Government to leave the Rent a Room Relief alone
Published on Wed, 17th Jan 2018 19:16
During the last budget the Government invited comments the Rent a Room Relief, and how it could be better targeted towards long term lets.
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has responded with a public report in which they have urged the Government not make the existing scheme any more...
Electronic payment charges
Published on Tue, 16th Jan 2018 16:21
If a landlord or agent takes rent or deposit (or any other sums) via debit cards, credit cards, mobile phone-based based payments or other electronic payments such as PayPal, they must not add a surcharge for that means of payment.
See more information here....
New bill will allow tenants to sue their landlord
Published on Mon, 15th Jan 2018 10:45
Karen Buck MP has tabled a private members bill aimed at improving rental conditions, which now has the full support of the Government, so is likely to become law.
Entitled ‘Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill’ it aims to bolster both the 1985 and the 2004 ...
Letting Agent fee ban put back to 2019
Published on Sun, 14th Jan 2018 15:07
Following a consultation the Government has decided to put back the proposed ban to next year.
We previously reported two days ago on this - see here
HMRC Business Help and Support
Published on Fri, 12th Jan 2018 11:01
HMRC have issued a series of helpful vidoes on completing your self assesment.
See them here
Oh NO. Not ANOTHER housing minister
Published on Tue, 9th Jan 2018 16:42
Only 6 months ago we reported on a new Housing Minister, Alok Sharma. To quote Monty Python, he is now an ex Housing Minister.
This afternoon (Jan 9th) Dominic Raab has been appointed as the new housing minister, the fifteenth politician to hold this role in 17 years.
Again the Prime Minister has...
Ban on tenant fees WILL raise rents
Published on Tue, 9th Jan 2018 15:24
The DCLG Select Committee is hearing expert opinion on the proposed ban on agent fees.
The committee yesterday (Jan 8th) heard evidence from Shelter’s Head of Policy Kate Webb, the University of York’s Centre for Housing Policy Dr Julie Rugg and Professor Ian Loveland from the City Law School.
Ex Housing Minister becomes Tory chairman
Published on Mon, 8th Jan 2018 15:00
Downing Street has announced that Brandon Lewis is to become the new Conservative Party chairman.
Mr Lewis was the Housing Minister for two years under David Cameron. He was actually well suited for this position as he was a RICS surveyor before becoming an MP, so understood housing.
Mrs May repl...
Over 11,000 homes have stood empty for at least 10 years, data shows
Published on Mon, 1st Jan 2018 12:00
The Lib Dems have conducted research that shows just 1 in 13 councils have used their powers to take over empty properties.
The data was collected through a Freedom of Information request and showed that more than 11,000 homes have been empty for longer than 10 years.
The fact that so many council...
Banning order consultation announced
Published on Thu, 28th Dec 2017 17:03
The Government has today (Dec 28th 2017) announced the results of a consultation for Banning Orders.
Banning Orders were introduced via the 2016 Housing Act, but have not as yet been enacted. It is intended that they will come into force April 6th 2018, and have suggested they will apply to the fo...
Government announces response to consultation on HMO reforms
Published on Thu, 28th Dec 2017 12:34
The Government has today published its response to its consultation paper on HMO reforms, which can be found at:
In short, it is proposed in England – subject to parliamentary appr...
Jeremy Corbyn pledges to scrap the Section 21 notice
Published on Wed, 27th Dec 2017 12:09
The end of 'No Fault Evictions?
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to include an end to the Section 21 evictions in the next Labour manifesto.
The Labour leader believes the current rules can lead to the breakup of communities, children having to move schools or travel long distances to stay at the same s...
Landlord jailed for ‘blatant disregard for fire safety’
Published on Fri, 22nd Dec 2017 15:44
A landlord in Ilford, Essex, has been sentenced to four months in jail for continuing to rent out his property despite being told that it was “too dangerous to live in”.
The landlord, Manmohan Sahib, 60, of Ilford, had been warned earlier on in the year about the poor state of his property, especia...
Families being priced out of some London Boroughs
Published on Thu, 21st Dec 2017 15:27
An independent, London based, estate agent James Pendleton, has conducted an investigation on the success, or not, of a Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
The Help to Buy London scheme is an equity loan provided by the Government that covers up to 40% of the cost of a new build home worth up to £600,...
Government Proposes Cap of £2,500 for Landlords to Invest in New MEES
Published on Wed, 20th Dec 2017 15:02
In October we updated you on the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
This legislation has been on the statute book for some time, and comes into place this April. Under this scheme landlords will not be allowed to let a property out if it unless it has an energy efficiency of E or above.
London launches 'Rogue' database
Published on Wed, 20th Dec 2017 14:49
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the Greater London Authority’s (GLA’s) Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker
The GLA has become the first authority to launch a database of ‘rogue’ landlords and agents, this is ahead of the expected national database announced in the 2016 Housing and Planni...
Building regulations unfit for purpose, Grenfell review finds
Published on Mon, 18th Dec 2017 12:00
A review of building regulations ordered after the Grenfell Tower fire has found the system is “not fit for purpose” and open to abuse by those trying to save money.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report into building safety called for an overhaul of the construction industry to put safety above cu...
Recent BBC landlord and tenant programme.
Published on Wed, 13th Dec 2017 21:00
BBC 4 recently aired a programme showing the difference in views between a benefit tenant, and an experienced landlord.
Click here to listen to it.
Eva tells of the problems of being a benefit tenant, and the concern about a lack of security of tenure leading to uncertainty of the future.
Published on Mon, 11th Dec 2017 17:00
Please see the latest update from the HMRC....
Private rented sector inquiry
Published on Tue, 5th Dec 2017 19:37
The SLA contributed to the recent inquiry by the Government Inquiry into the Private Rented Sector – see recent news article.
We gave evidence as part of the Residential Property Group, and directly. For all the published evidence see here.
Database of rogue landlords and agents to be introduced next April
Published on Fri, 1st Dec 2017 09:00
It has been confirmed that a database of rogue landlords and letting agents as well as new banning orders will be introduced on April 6, 2018.
The database, which was initially announced last year as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HA16) to root out rogue landlords, is expected to come i...
Radical changes to Universal Credit
Published on Thu, 23rd Nov 2017 12:00
Yesterday (Wed Nov 22nd) the chancellor announced that initial 7 day waiting period for Universal Credit was to be abolished, which brings the wait time down from 7 weeks to 6.
Today (Thursday 23rd) the Works and Pensions Secretary, David Gauke, has announced that any tenant who has opted to have t...
2017 Autumn Budget
Published on Wed, 22nd Nov 2017 13:45
The Chancellor is unveiling his budget.
Matters known so far are:-
longer tenancies in the private rental sector with (yet another) consultation on the objective
Stamp duty abolished for first-time buyers for homes worth up to £300,000
New homes along the Cambridge – Milton Keynes ...
Change in EPC's
Published on Wed, 22nd Nov 2017 09:30
There will be a change in the way EPC's are worked out.
From next Monday (November 30th) there will be a change in the way EPC's are worked out. The most important things to note are:-
any property with solid walls will get a better rating than previously, but
any property with cavity wa...
Sajid Javid's speech on the housing market
Published on Thu, 16th Nov 2017 16:51
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid used a speech to warn that unless the Government succeeds, the UK risks creating a “rootless generation” who never stay in one place and become part of a community.
In a measure which ministers hope will indicate the direction of travel for the Budget next week, he...
Brighton & Hove Licensing scheme
Published on Thu, 16th Nov 2017 09:00
Brighton & Hove Councillors voted on Wednesday 15th November 2017 to approve both Additional and Selective Licensing.
The Housing & New Homes Committee ratified the report put to them with very little discussion, with two amendments, one for Additional Licencing and one for Selective Licensing, pro...
Private Rented Sector Electrical Safety Standards Working Group Report
Published on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 18:39
The DCLG have published the report of the Private Rented Sector Electrical Safety Working Group.
An enabling power was included in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 allowing requirements for electrical safety standards in the private rented sector, and their enforcement, to be set through second...
Consultation to review the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015
Published on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 18:36
The DCLG have launched a consultation to review the PRS Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.
In 2015, the Government introduced the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations to protect private sector tenants from death or injury in the home caused by smoke and ...
Government publishes electrical safety report
Published on Wed, 8th Nov 2017 13:36
The full report can be found here; the recommendations are:-
5 yearly mandatory electrical installation checks should be set out in secondary legislation.
Visual checks of the safety of the electrical installation by landlords at a change of tenancy should be encourag...
Published on Mon, 6th Nov 2017 09:36
Please see the latest help from Inland Revenue, and attached document:-
I am forwarding detail of some of the information available to landlords this month. See e mail weblinks below and word document attached
The documents include the link to our live webinars on
Draft Tenant Fees Bill
Published on Fri, 3rd Nov 2017 09:44
The Government has today published its Draft Tenants Fees Bill.
Under the legislation, letting agents would be prohibited from charging tenants a fee to rent a property.
Currently, the fees charged to tenants are ‘often not clearly or consistently explained’, the government said in a statement....
UK interest rates rise for first time in 10 years
Published on Thu, 2nd Nov 2017 09:49
The official bank rate has been lifted from 0.25% to 0.5%, the first increase since July 2007.
It is likely to rise twice more over the next three years, according to Bank of England governor Mark Carney.
The move reverses the cut in August of last year, which was made in the wake of the vote to l...
Consultation on Mandatory Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents
Published on Wed, 1st Nov 2017 09:00
Following a review of the suggestion that all agents should operate some kind of Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme the Government has launched (another) consultation on how this should be implementd.
This followed a working party that made the following recomendations:-
The Government uses ...
Published on Mon, 23rd Oct 2017 08:00
The BPF have advised us that rumours are swirling that ministers are considering ‘radical’ proposals to ease the housing crisis by releasing green belt land. On proposal, the government would use the increase in the value of the land when designated for new housing and supporting infrastructure. ...
Protecting consumers in the letting and managing agent market: call for evidence
Published on Wed, 18th Oct 2017 11:48
On the 1 October 2017 Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced proposals to address the imbalance of power in the private rented market by regulating letting agents.
This call for evidence seeks views on whether a new regulatory model is needed for agents ...
Newham Council's additional licensing scheme set to continue until December 2022
Published on Wed, 18th Oct 2017 10:48
Newham Council’s additional landlord licensing scheme has been renewed for a further five years and will continue operating until 31 December 2022.
The decision was made by Newham Council’s Mayor and Cabinet at a meeting on 15 June 2017. The scheme boundary has also changed slightly. Rather than a ...
Delivering the renaissance in council-built homes: the rise of local housing companies
Published on Mon, 16th Oct 2017 11:52
Local Housing Companies:
The Smith Institute published a report recently, stating that since local authorities face various constraints on building homes via their housing revenue accounts, many are turning to Local Housing Companies, as a way of delivering more housing, often PRS and for sale hou...
Cost of housing for low-income renters
Published on Fri, 13th Oct 2017 08:00
The Institute of Fiscal Studies issued a report on the growing disparity between rents and housing benefit, concluding that it is the squeeze on real incomes, rather than rises in real rents, that has been putting upwards pressure on rent-to-income ratios since the recession....
Energy Efficiency - Clean Growth
Published on Thu, 12th Oct 2017 08:00
BEIS last week published the long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy which (as part of the wider Industrial Strategy) sets out how the government intends to meet the aims in the Fifth Carbon Budget of limiting the UK’s annual emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by the year 2032.
Government announced as p...
Will you be allowed to let your property after next April?
Published on Mon, 9th Oct 2017 12:00
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
We have been warning you that it might be impossible for you to rent your property after April next year (2018).
The Government have now published a guide regarding the minimum energy efficiency of rental property – it can be found here.
Combatting 'rogue landlords' inquiry announced
Published on Mon, 9th Oct 2017 10:34
The Communities and Local Government Committee launches inquiry into whether councils have adequate powers to tackle 'rogue landlords'.
The details can be found here.
They are inviting written evidence with reference to:-
Do local authorities have the powers and capacity required to enforce s...
You might never be able to use a Section 21
Published on Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 13:48
It is a legal requirement to have a valid Gas Safety Inspection Report (CP12) before a tenancy commences; it is then a requirement to ensure it is kept valid, i.e. renewed when necessary.
As a mechanism of policing that, the new Section 21 (form 6a) has to have a valid CP12 to be allowed at court. ...
Conservative Party conference: Planned crackdown on rogue landlords to let private renters challenge rip-off fees
Published on Sun, 1st Oct 2017 16:00
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid unveils plans to offer greater protections for private sector tenants ahead of Conservative Party conference speech
Private tenants will be given greater rights under new plans to crack down on rogue landlords, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has said.
Report on Homelessness
Published on Tue, 19th Sep 2017 09:00
The National Audit Office have published a report on homelessness, and the Government don't come out too well.
The report can be found here, but in summary:-
The ending of private sector tenancies has overtaken all other causes to become the biggest single driver of statutory homelessness in En...
Housing Minister speech
Published on Thu, 14th Sep 2017 20:00
The new Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, has made his first speech as minister.
He gave gave a talk at the RESI conference, which can be seen here.
In it he acknowledges there have been a lot of Housing Ministers in the past few years, and hopes that he is given enough time to do his job.
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19
Published on Wed, 19th Jul 2017 17:47
Summary of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19
To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to ma...
House of Commons Briefing Paper on HMO's
Published on Sat, 1st Jul 2017 09:00
The House of Commons often put out briefing papers for MP's.
They are generally available for members of the public, and I have come across one on HMO’s which is an excellent summary.
It can be found at:-
Deposits to be capped
Published on Sat, 24th Jun 2017 10:00
In the Queens Speech on Wednesday (21/6/17) there was a small mention of tenant’s fees:-
'Proposals will be brought forward to ban unfair tenant fees, promote fairness and transparency in the housing market, and help ensure more homes are built' is what the Queen actually read out.
Buy to Let mortgages shrinking
Published on Fri, 23rd Jun 2017 17:08
The Council of Mortgage Lenders have revised their estimates for Buy-to-Let borrowings
Last December it had originally forecasted that £38bn would be loaned in 2017 and 2018; this is against the high of £40.6bn in 2016.
It has now revised 2017 to be £35bn, and 2018 to be lower at £33bn.
This is a...
Urgent DCLG appeal
Published on Wed, 21st Jun 2017 20:00
Please see an urgent appeal from the DCLG below
Melanie Dawes CB Permanent Secretary Department for Communities and LocalGovernment2 Marsham StreetLondon SW1P 4DF20 June 2017Safety checks on private residential blocks This letter is intended for owners, landlords and managers of private...
Finally we have a Housing Minister
Published on Tue, 13th Jun 2017 07:30
Alok Sharma, Reading West MP, will replace Gavin Barwell who was made Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister after losing his Croydon seat.
Sharma, 49, was previously a minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is a qualified accountant.
He is the 15th housing minister since 1997 and the s...
More retired renters now
Published on Mon, 12th Jun 2017 12:00
Retired tenants are becoming a larger part of the rental market, according to the UK's largest letting agency.
Countrywide reports that pensioners paid a total of £3.7 billion in rent over the last 12 months.
This represents a rise of over 200% in the last decade when compared to the £1.2 billion ...
Gavin Barwell appointed Theresa May's chief of staff
Published on Mon, 12th Jun 2017 09:00
Former housing minister who lost his London seat on Thursday will replace Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill as Theresa May’s new chief of staff
In a statement, May said that Barwell “has been a first class minister and is widely respected”.
She added: “He will bring considerable experience of the party...
Housing Minister loses his seat
Published on Fri, 9th Jun 2017 06:00
The Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, has lost his seat in the General Election.
The (ex) minister was defending a small majority of just 165 lsot his seat by 5,652. This will mean that we are to have the 15th Housing Minister since 2000 - noi wonder we have no continuity in housing
Interim Housing Ombudsman appointed
Published on Mon, 5th Jun 2017 09:00
David Connolly will act as the interim Housing Ombudsman whilst recruitment for a permanent post-holder takes place. This will be effective from 5 June 2017 when the current Housing Ombudsman, Denise Fowler, leaves to take up her new role.
First build to rent REITS start to trade
Published on Wed, 31st May 2017 19:13
The UK's first Government backed fund of build-to-rent homes started trading on the Stock Exchange today (31/5/17).
The PRS REIT (real estate investmenmt trust) raised £250M from investors at its launch; showing that the industry is coming of age....
Tax reforms deter buy-to-let landlords
Published on Mon, 22nd May 2017 13:49
There are less landlords according to Connells Agents.
Connells have noticed a decrease in the valuations carried out on Buy-To-Let property They have dropped to 7% in April, versus the 5 year average of 13%.
See here for the full report. This is line with the survey carried out by us two months...
Mike Stimpson on the radio
Published on Fri, 19th May 2017 20:00
Mike Stimpson was on Radio 5 Live last Friday - May 19th.
To hear the interview click here, click the play symbol, drag the bar to 1:06:15 to listen to the start of the piece on problems in housing in Brighton. Mike appears from 1:16:20 onwards Note that this will only stay on the web site for 1 ...
Published on Thu, 18th May 2017 17:00
The three main parties have now announced their manifestos. They can be seen here:-
We wrote to the current Government with our wish list....
Rate revaluation for development properties
Published on Thu, 18th May 2017 13:14
There has been a recent court case regarding the rateable value of a property being re-developed.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that a Sunderland property should not have been charged business rates as if it were fully usable when it was undergoing refurbishment. Instead, the court ruled, the p...
Minimum Room Sizes
Published on Tue, 2nd May 2017 19:02
The Government have recently carried out a consultation on the minimum allowed size of bedrooms for licensed properties.
Whilst it is almost certain that this will become law, currently (May 2017) it is not law. However that seems not to have stopped some councils from trying to impose it on land...
Labour announces rental policy
Published on Mon, 1st May 2017 10:12
Labour has today (May 1st) announced its policy on renting.
And guess what, it proposes more crack down on landlords, with the Shadow Minister (John Healey) saying renters “.. have fewer rights renting a family home than you do buying a fridge freezer.” He further stated “There are currently no m...
The SLA's wish list for the election
Published on Tue, 25th Apr 2017 09:15
The SLA have recently written to the Government outling their suggestions for the PRS.
See a copy of the letter here.
Published on Sun, 9th Apr 2017 09:33
The DCLG announced some amendments to the law as a consequence of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act.
The main one is that Local Authorities now have the ability to choose whether to prosecute a landlord through the court, or issue a Civil Penalty for certain offences. The difference is that the Lo...
Open consultation Banning letting agent fees paid by tenants
Published on Fri, 7th Apr 2017 10:03
The Government are consulting on banning the fees paid by tenants to letting agents.
Full details can be seen here, the actual survey closes 11.45 on June 2nd and can be found here.
Fixed Penalty Notices and Rent Repayment Orders
Published on Wed, 5th Apr 2017 14:00
Under the 2016 Housing and Planning Act (HA16) Local Authorities have been given the abolity to issue Fixed Penalty Notices, and Rent Repayment Orders for certain offences.
Details can be seen here.
Fixed Penalty Notices
These new rules allow Local Authorities (LA) to levy a financial penalty...
Results of SLA survey
Published on Tue, 28th Mar 2017 18:31
The SLA have recently conducted a survey recently.
The full survey can be found here, but 10% of the landlords surveyed responded confirming that recent Government actikons are forcing landlords from the industry....
More proposed licensing schemes
Published on Fri, 10th Feb 2017 15:45
Both Woking and Brighton and Hove have announced a consultation on a proposed licensing scheme.
Woking is proposing in the Town Centre and the Maybury area. To take part in this consulatation click on the link here.
Brighton are talking about a city wide sceheme. See the details here.
Long Term Tenancies exempt for Buy to Let landlords
Published on Thu, 9th Feb 2017 10:00
The Housing Minister has confirmed that the longer tenancy proposals in the Housing White Paper will not apply to buy-to-let landlords.
He has told Inside Housing that his hope is that getting greater numbers of institutional investors in the market, providing longer tenancies “will disrupt the ma...
Summary of the Housing White Paper
Published on Tue, 7th Feb 2017 22:00
The Government have today (7/2/17) released
their long awaited Housing White Paper
The SLA are to mount a series of meetings to present this White Paper, and give time for discussion to allow us formulate our response. Note that we are planning new venues to enable to discuss t...
Long awaited Housing White Paper released
Published on Tue, 7th Feb 2017 15:30
The Government has published it's long awaited White Paper on Housing with the following message:-
Today the Government published its Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’. The link to the Housing White Paper is here:
New Section 8 form
Published on Thu, 1st Dec 2016 08:15
Please note that there is a new Section 8 form to be used for all applications after December 1st 2016. It is possible that a court might reject a claim if made on on an old form.
Please use the correct one, it can be found in the members section....
Published on Wed, 23rd Nov 2016 09:16
The Government is due to announce the banning of agent fees in England, to bring it in line with Scotland.
ARLA have released the following press release:-
David Cox, Managing Director, Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), comments on news that the Chancellor is set to announce a ban ...
Extending mandatory licensing in England and Wales
Published on Tue, 18th Oct 2016 13:16
The Government has released a consultation about extending mandatory licensing. The consultation can been seen here.
It is recommending:-
1) extending mandatory licensing to
a) all properties having 5 (or more) occupants not related; sharing vital facilties;
b) all fla...
Housing and Planning Act 2016
Published on Fri, 13th May 2016 09:10
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 received Royal Assent on May 12th 2016.
No timetable of implementation has yet been announced.
There will be a summary of the Act in tne next newsletter due mid-June...
Kumarasamy V Edwards
Published on Fri, 6th May 2016 12:43
English Justice at its best.
On Thursday May 6th I attended a hearing at the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. I have been to court before, including the High Court, but this is a different process again, where 2 sides debate a matter in front of a panel of law lords, who then re...
Changes to Notices
Published on Sat, 2nd Apr 2016 11:37
Further to this old new piece, both these notices were again changed April 1st 2016
There have been changes to the Section 8 and Section 13 notices from April 6th 2015. Note that you must only use the new format.
All the new formas are in the members section, and a brief overview is in the ...
Hastings License decision
Published on Mon, 30th Mar 2015 18:30
Hastings Borough Council have voted to bring in Selective Licensing.
The public notice can be seen here
The SLA are seeking legal opion on this matter, on behalf of local landlords, and the first draft of the opinion will be announced at the NLA public meeting, on April 16th - all details for th...
Hastings Proposed Selective Licensing
Published on Fri, 16th Jan 2015 17:18
The SLA held a meeting to discuss the Selective Licensing Scheme. The summary can been seen here.
Local Landlord wins High Court JR against Enfield Council proposed Licensing Scheme.
Published on Thu, 11th Dec 2014 15:37
The Southern Landlords Association (SLA) is delighted to learn that Constantinos Regas, a private landlord in Enfield, has been successful in his bid to challenge Enfield Council in their proposal to introduce licensing in the entire Borough of Enfield.
As the only landlords’ association that h...
The new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund opened today (10/12/14)
Published on Wed, 10th Dec 2014 16:16
The new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund opened today (10/12/14) at 9am. Below you can find a summary of the key information relevant to assessors. £30 million in vouchers will be available and further releases of the GDHIF will be announced quarterly with the next release in February 2015. The £30...
Don't get your tax wrong.
Published on Fri, 10th Oct 2014 15:35
The Inland Revenue have published an e-learning site to help landlords to get their tax correct.
Make sure you don't get caught out by getting your tax wrong.
Published on Sat, 15th Mar 2014 19:50
Following recent changes to the rules, all rental properties are legally obliged to carry out a risk assessment for Legionnaires' disease.
Whilst there is a suggested checklist on our web site, members section, it is recommended that you seek professional advice where necessary.
Note that this law...
Published on Sat, 15th Mar 2014 19:49
Most landlords issue an AST for a fixed term - normally 6 months. At the end of the term the AST remains in place, but becomes a Statutory Periodic - unless the AST is renewed.
This has never been an issue, but as aresult of two separate court cases last year, this now means:-
If a deposit has b...
Published on Sat, 15th Mar 2014 19:44
The Government are bringing in tighter controls on illegal immigrants, and as part of this are expecting all landlords to ensure their tenants have the right to reside in the UK, and that this right remains during the whole period they are in rental property.
It is the second point that caught out ...
LANDLORD AND LETTING AWARDS
Published on Sat, 15th Mar 2014 19:42
Members will be pleased to know that the Alan Boswell Group, whom we have worked in partnership with for many years, has been awarded the winner of Supplier Services at the Landlord and Letting Awards.
As a landlord who has used the services of Boswells for very many years, I would like to congratu...