Category Archives: Latest News

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ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATE – EPC

Posted on December 10, 2018 in Landlords, Latest News by orange pixel

EPC’s for rented properties were introduced from October 2008. With a life-span of 10-years, this means that they are beginning to run out.

The first and most important thing to understand is that, unlike a gas safety record, there is no need to get a new EPC simply because the current one expires. The law defines when an EPC is needed and one is needed when a property is put on the market for sale or letting.

With an existing letting, as the property is not being marketed, no EPC is required. This even applies if you are arranging a renewal to the existing tenant. The logic behind this is that the EPC gives a standard assessment of the energy consumption of the property whereas the tenant who is living there knows exactly what the energy costs are as they are paying the bills!

Therefore, the first time a renewal EPC will typically be needed will be when the tenant gives notice and the property is to be advertised for sale or a new rental.

The rule about the EPC running out also affects the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) which is based on the requirement to ensure properties reach at least band E or an exemption is registered. If the property is not legally required to have an EPC (even if one was produced over 10-years ago), then MEES will not apply until the property is required to have an EPC.

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SECTION 21 NOTICE – NEW PRESCRIBED FORM

Posted on October 1, 2018 in Latest News by orange pixel

Section 21 is the no fault way of obtaining possession from a tenant who has signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).

What is a Section 21 Notice?

A Section 21 Housing Act 1988 notice is the first step to obtaining the property back. These are used when the landlord wants to regain possession of a property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy or wishes to exercise a ‘Break Clause’.

The landlord is able to issue the tenant with a Section 21 notice without giving any reason for ending the tenancy agreement.

Form 6A

This form should be used where a no fault possession of accommodation let under an assured shorthold tenancy is sought.

This form must be used for all assured shorthold tenancies created on or after 1 October 2015 (excluding statutory periodic tenancies which have come into being on or after 1 October 2015) and on all tenancies from 1st October 2018.

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Government to introduce mandatory five-year electrical safety checks for rental homes

Posted on July 23, 2018 in Latest News by whiteslettings

The Government has backed introducing a mandatory requirement on landlords with properties in England to ensure that electrical installations in their property are inspected every five years.

However, it has not provided a start date but Whites will insist that all properties they let have this check undertaken before tenants move in to a property.

Such a proposal has been recommended by several working groups of industry bodies, the most recent at the end of last year.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire on 19 July 2018 announced plans for the mandatory checks to be introduced alongside the launch of a separate consultation on building regulations following a review by Dame Judith Hackitt in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire tragedy.

Brokenshire said: “There is nothing more important than ensuring people are safe in their own homes.

“That is why I am announcing a package of measures focused on improving building safety, having listened carefully to the concerns which have been raised.”

Responding to the announcement, Phil Buckle, director general of charity Electrical Safety First, said: “We are delighted the Government has finally recognised the importance of regular electrical checks in the private rental sector which protects both tenants and landlords

“Electrical Safety First has led the charge for this to be made a legal requirement for UK homes and successfully lobbied for these to be introduced in the PRS in Scotland – with Wales and Northern Ireland set to follow suit.

“Our campaign for the introduction of these checks has been supported by 71% of MPs, from all parties.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/fire-safety-clarification-of-statutory-guidance-approved-document-b

 

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Client Money Protection & Professional Indemnity

Posted on May 21, 2018 in Latest News by whiteslettings

Housing Minister supports Government report which calls for new measures to protect rental money

Whites Independent Lettings have taken on new CMP cover to safeguard the money they handle for landlords and tenants.

Letting agents across the country will soon be required to protect rental monies through an approved Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme, following the recommendations made in a new Government report.

Whites is already offering local landlords and tenants in enhanced levels of protection to safeguard to protect rental income from fraud and unlawful use.

Letting agents play a crucial role in passing on rental payments from the tenant to their landlord but there is currently no legal requirement for letting agents to take out any insurance to protect the rental money they handle.

The Housing Minister has responded to a parliamentary review of CMP and supported its recommendations to make CMP mandatory for agents in England that handle client money.

The report estimates that letting agents currently hold approximately £2.7 billion in client funds but found that very few landlords or tenants are aware of CMP and how it safeguards rental money if an agent goes bankrupt or attempts to use client funds fraudulently.

Whites offer its landlords and tenants complete piece of mind that any client funds held by the branch is insured through a new Client Money Protection (CMP) insurance policy, which goes above and beyond current legal requirements to safeguard client funds.

The move has been praised by The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme, which provides a free, fair and impartial dispute resolution service to protect consumers from unfair practices and raise standards in the property industry.

The Government launched an official review into CMP in August 2016 to decide whether it should become a legal requirement for every letting agent to have CMP cover. As part of this review, TPO agreed to carry nationwide survey, which found just 11% of landlords ask how their rental money will be handled.

Gerry Fitzjohn, TPO’s Vice Chairman, said: “While there is legislation in place for agents to protect a tenant’s deposit by registering it with a government-backed protection scheme, there is no legal requirement to safeguard rental income and ensure the agent passes on a tenant’s rent to their landlord.

“It is essential that landlords and tenants only use agents that have CMP cover or a method that guarantees the rent collected by their agent is covered against fraud and unlawful use. I would always urge consumers to check the credentials of their agent to ensure their deposits and renal money is protected, and the firm is registered with TPO should a dispute arise.”

Oliver Wharmby of Lonsdale Insurance Brokers Ltd, which manages the PI + CMP scheme for Whites said: “Recent press headlines have really hit home how rental fraud can affect landlords and tenants. The media has covered several high-profile cases where landlords have lost thousands of pounds in rental income by dealing with an agent who did not have sufficient cover to protect consumers from rental fraud.

“Rather than choose to use an agent that charges the lowest fee, landlords must ask if the agent offers sufficient cover and protection, through a comprehensive CMP policy, to protect their rental income.”

The PI + CMP scheme is an exclusive insurance product for agents registered with The Property Ombudsman scheme. Further information can be found on Lonsdale’s website.

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General Data Processing Regulations (GDPR)

Posted on May 21, 2018 in Latest News by whiteslettings

We have recently published a revised Privacy Notice to clarify how we may use the personal data that you supply to us and to inform you of how to withdraw your consent.

The revised policy can be seen here

Privacy Notice