Did you see our latest article regarding whether you are compliant or not? Click here for details of it.
Did you know that Brighton and Hove council have recently fined a landlord regarding breaches of the HMO license which related to fire safety and lack of ventilation issues.
A £8,000 penalty was imposed for failure to provide a fire alarm detection system. £4,000 was imposed for failure to construct a 30 minute resistant enclosure around electrical intake equipment. A further penalty of £1,600 was imposed for failure to install an electrical fan in the kitchen providing means of ventilation.
The council are currently starting to go through properties to ascertain whether landlords have carried out the special conditions on their licenses. As well as landlords who have not carried out a fire risk assessment and recommendations from the back of this. It is therefore important that if you feel you have not carried this out and you are liable then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be able to help you.
We have been contacted by the council on various properties regarding special condition on HMO licenses specifically.
Did you know you can be fined as follows;
- If your EICR is not up to date you can receive a fine of up to £30,000.
- Gas safety. If your gas safety is not up to date you can receive an unlimited fine and up to 6 months imprisonment.
- EPC – (energy performance certificate) you can be fined by the local authority between £500-£5,000.
We were recently contacted by one landlord who rented a property not through us, but privately, and didn’t realise that the EPC had not only expired but was an F. Which is breach. The local authority contacted him and we had to resolve it for them by taking the property over.
Do you have other property that we don’t manage and want us to do a health check? Don’t hesitate to contact us.
What will happen in the budget for landlords?
We never know with Government whether they are going to look to push even harder against landlords. The amount of legalisation in the last 5 years has been horrific. Moving towards giving tenants much more power.
Is there a triple whamy in coming in tax issues?
The Joseph Rowntree foundation has done a report stating that in their opinion landlords should be paying for further items as follows;
- A higher stamp duty land tax service charge on investor purchases to give an advantage to those seeking a home to live in.
- The removal of the current rent a room tax break on short term lets. Which currently gives landlords a £7,500 tax free allowance on rents. This will discourage landlords to switch from long term lets to other types of rentals.
- Consideration to scrap council tax and stamp duty and replace it with an annual property tax paid by the owner and/or the landlord rather than the resident. For instance this would mean that all student properties the landlord will be liable to pay for the council tax and not the tenants.
The Joseph Rowntree foundation claims that housing is facing the “worst of all worlds situation” as rising interest rates and high inflation created for conditions on housing market freeze. They paint a picture of the market of “where building stops, transactions stall, cash rich investors swoop in to buy up properties, rents continue to spiral and vulnerable homeowners are stuck in unaffordable homes.”
The foundation are urging the Government to act in a way which will not only get the market moving but in their opinion “start to put right the problems which are excluding younger generations from owning their own home or finding generally affordable homes to rent”.
They forecast that there will be a “collapse in housebuilding as housebuilders mothball sites to avoid selling in a falling market.” The foundation sees “investors swopping in to buy up homes for holiday lets or short term lettings using cash, while first-time buyers relying on mortgage finance are frozen out of the market.”
They also want the following;
- Levy council tax on homes in new developments 18 months after planning permission has been granted whether built or not.
- Support households struggling with higher costs by unfreezing Local Housing Allowance (LHA) so it meets the cost of local rents and establishing a new version of the Mortgage Rescue Scheme launched in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, which would fund social landlords to buy the homes of mortgaged homeowners in distress.
Would any of these be taken up by the Government?
It is difficult to know what the Government are doing. We find that every year they move further towards tenants rather than landlords. Also they don’t appreciate some landlords use their properties as their only income and already have a heavy burden on compliance. Perhaps the Government should look inwards towards themselves on how many properties they should get the local authorities to be building.
Article by Mark Harrington owner of Harringtons Lettings.