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Landlord Law Newsround #324

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Another week and another Newsround. Let’s see what has been happening in the news this week.

Have you submitted your tax return?​


It looks as if some 3.8 people have yet to file their return, and many of these are believed to be landlords!

If you file your return late you will have to pay a £100 penalty even if you do not have to pay any tax! There are further penalties after three months.

An HMRC spokesperson says:

If you are a Self Assessment taxpayer, now is the time to take action and get your return done. People can familiarise themselves with the process by checking out HMRC … on GOV.UK. Once a tax return is submitted, it’s easy to find out what’s owed and to pay online or using the HMRC app. Just search ‘pay my Self Assessment’ on GOV.UK to find out more.

Uncertainty looms over who will run the Private Rental Ombudsman​


The Renters Reform Bill brings with it a new ombudsman scheme that will be mandatory for all landlords to join, however there seems much uncertainty over which body will be responsible for running it. The government has previously stated that it would be the Housing Ombudsman which is the current redress scheme for the social renting sector, but now it seems to be in doubt over this.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, a junior housing minister said

We announced our preference to deliver through the Housing Ombudsman service, which provides social housing redress. However, no final decision has been made, and our priority is choosing a provider that offers the high-quality and value-for-money service we require.

We are confident that the approach we are taking [to selecting the Ombudsman service] is in line with procurement regulations.

It was thought that The Property Ombudsman and the Property Redress Service who operate schemes for letting and sales agents might be considered for the scheme. Baroness Scott added

We envisage that, where a complaint covers both landlords and letting agents, the separate schemes will work together to triage the complaint effectively and, if necessary, have a joint investigation.

There is concern that there could be a duplicate of responsibilities between the different scheme bodies. However the Baroness batted this back by saying that enforcement will have the power to expel landlords from membership unless they deal with their obligations this is backed up by civil an legal penalties.

Scotland prepares for new safety rules from 1st March​


Scottish landlords will have to meet more new standards to keep their properties legal come the 1st March when new rules concerning heating systems, kitchens, fire doors and residual current devices come into force.

Kitchens will have to have safety accessible food storage and preparation spaces as well as a fixed heating system. Common doors will need to be secure and fitted with locks that allow opening from the inside without a key. Installations of fuel of any type needs to be in proper working order. A circuit breaker device will also have to be fitted and landlords will need to advise tenants on how to check the RCD by pressing the test button at specified times.

Bob Cairney, director of technical services at Select says

Landlords may now need to take some action where a situation is identified in an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and the electrical contractor responsible for the periodic inspection and testing should be able to provide appropriate advice on how best to comply.

Lettings agents say Renters Reform Bill is ‘unfair’​


Interesting research carried out on 650 letting agents by Propertymark that will form part of a new report for reforming the PRS, claims that 73% of letting agents think that the Renters Reform Bill is unfair and 60% of agents think that removing fixed term tenancies will have a negative impact on tenants. It further stated that 70% of agents agreed that student lets should be left as they are and not have the fixed term tenancies removed from them.

Letting agents also felt that the new PRS database should be widened to include qualifications, registration and regulation requirements for property agents, and interestingly they also feel if the portal is launched then all local licensing scheme should be removed. You can read the full report here.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark said

The clear view from Propertymark letting agent members highlights the importance of the need for policy makers to retain the option of fixed term tenancy where it is mutually beneficial to both parties, ensure new requirements for landlord redress complement the existing provisions that agents must adhere to, and the legislation is not a missed opportunity to regulate property agents and ensure landlords have confidence through new and strengthened grounds for possession.

Older renters struggle to keep up with rents​


The charity Independent Age has in a new research, said that elderly renters are having to move to deprived areas due to ever increasing rents leaving them feeling isolated and putting extra strain on local services. The charity wants the government to offer more protection for the elderly and more support with high rents and increase its social housing.

Blackpool, Torbay and Fylde has seen the greatest increase in older private renters. Joanna Elson, Chief Exec of Independent Age says

Moving is a stressful experience for many, but for older private renters on a low income, being forced to move out of their community because of the cost is hellish. That’s why older private renters living on a low income desperately need more protections.

The charity wants the government to pass the Renters Reform Bill as soon as possible and to allow local authorities to regulate landlords and rent in their areas.

Snippets​


Another council raising revenue through licensing scheme
Minister reveals new green scheme and cash for landlords
Huge rise in councils using bailiffs to recover unpaid rent
Shelter links with High Street bank to campaign on housing

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #324 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.
 
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