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Earlier this month during the Queen’s speech, the government announced some concerning news. They are putting the responsibility on landlords and letting agents to check the immigration status of any prospective tenants to ensure they have the Right to Rent. This means, if you’re a private landlord, you’ll need to carry out identity checks on all adults moving into your property. It won’t be enough to simply carry out credit checks on the tenants paying the rent or signing the agreement. Failure to comply could result in a civil penalty up to a maximum £3000.
As a letting agent we can do this on your behalf. But I hope, before the scheme is rolled out nationally, that the government takes the time to review how the first phase in the West Midlands has worked.
In October 2015, Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their rented properties.
The changes mean that if you have not yet installed smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your rental properties, you will need do so. You must ensure that there is at least one smoke alarm per floor, as well as Carbone Monoxide alarms present in any rooms containing a solid fuel burning appliance – both of which are new requirements. Failing to comply with the legislation could leave you open to a penalty of up to £5000.
Under the Localism Act 2013, local authorities can introduce selective licencing of privately rented homes to address problems in their area such as low housing demand and/or significant anti-social behaviour, in addition to the requirements of the Housing Act 2004 relating to Houses in MultiplesOccupation (HMOs).
Since 1st April 2015, a new General Approval and additional criteria for making a scheme have come into force.
Local authorities will require confirmation from the Secretary of State for any selective licensing scheme which would cover more than 20% of their geographical area or would affect more than 20% of privately rented homes in the local authority area based on figures from census data.
The additional criteria are:
And that one or more of the following applies:
If you’re looking at expanding your property portfolio make sure you check with your local authorities about selective licencing so you can make an informed decision on your investment.
Since May 27th 2015, letting agents must display their fees in their branch and on their website. The items on the list must be all the fees, charges or penalties payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant. Failing to do so could lead a financial penalty of up to £5,000.
You can now find this list of fees in all Andrews letting branches. Find out more about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 - chapter 3.
Since January 1st 2015, landlords in Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire are liable for tenants' water debt. The Welsh Government has introduced new legislation that affects on any landlords whose property receives water or sewerage services from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.
It is important to note that even if you are a landlord living in England with tenanted property in the Welsh Water and Dee Valley Water areas - you have to share your tenants' information with the water board.
The legislation requires landlords to inform Welsh Water about tenants in their properties within 21 days of the tenants moving into the property. Failure to do so means that landlords can become jointly and severally liable with the tenant for any outstanding water and sewerage charges.