Landlord Newsletter - June 2016


Welcome to the Hunters Landlord Newsletter.

Recent weeks have certainly been eventful for the UK as a whole, however it is very much business as usual here at Hunters. It’s all about supply and demand and we are pleased to report that the rental market is booming with demand still outstripping supply. We expect to see an increase in demand from individuals and families across the country who will see renting as the best option for them during this time. So it’s a great time to put your property on the market to let!

That’s what we think but what do you think? If you have any questions or queries about the market in general or your area in particular then please contact us – that’s what we do best, we offer you a personal one on one conversation because we are the property professionals and you are our customer.

In addition, in this edition you can find out how you can access all of your statements via our Landlord Portal, get some early results from our recent Landlord Survey and read some insightful articles covering important legislation. 

We hope you enjoy the read!
Hunters Lettings



Landlord Survey 2016 Update

Thank you to each and every one of you who completed our Landlord Survey in January and February this year.  The winner of the Prize Draw has been picked out and contacted and we will share further details of this in our next newsletter.

Since the survey completed on 28th February the lettings team at Hunters have been hard at work analysing the results.  Your responses have been fascinating and have given us a real insight into what is most important to you when it comes to choosing a letting agent who can help you make the most of your property invesment.

As a direct result of your responses we are now making changes to the way we work.  For example 80% of those people who responded told us that accreditation matters when choosing an agent, therefore we're ensuring all of our branches let new and existing landlords know about their relevant accrediations at the appropriate time in their communications.

Look out for more results from our Landlord Survey in upcoming newsletters and if you have any questions about the products and services offered by Hunters Lettings in the meantime, contact your nearest Hunters branch.



24/7 Access to Your Landlord Statements

Hunters are delighted to share with you our Landlords Portal*. This is a simple, secure & convenient online service which enables you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to your accounts information and easy access to download copies of your statements whenever you require them.

REGISTRATION

The site is designed to allow easy self-registration, simply visit our website, click 'Landlord Statements Online' and select the 'not registered' option.

To ensure the security of data it is important that you register using the email address we hold in our files for you as this will validate your registration request and allow a password to be sent.

If we hold more than 1 email address for your account please contact the Lettings Department on 01904 756 137 to confirm which you would like as the valid email address.

MY BALANCE

The 'My Balance' tab will give you up-to-date details of monies you currently owe to our agency and details of items currently held that will be included in your next statement.

Please note your statement may change if further transactions are processed ahead of your next statement due date.

MY ACCOUNT

This section of the portal allows you to review and download Landlords Statements allowing you to access them when you want to view them.

We're sure you'll find our Landlord Portal useful, but if you experience any difficulties please contact Charlotte Green on 01904 756137.

*The Landlord Portal is only available for those branches who operate Accounts through Hunters Head office in York.



Are you Gas Safe?

Having a rental property can be a stressful business with the increasing number of regulations to follow and adhere to. None more important than Gas Safety.

Recently it was reported that a Private Landlord in Plymouth risked the lives of his tenants through a dangerous gas boiler installed in the flat. A gas engineer called in by one of the tenants at the flats found serious problems with the gas boiler at the flat and notified HSE. The gas boiler was classified by the Gas Safe registered engineer as ‘immediately dangerous’, meaning if operated or left connected to the gas supply it could cause an immediate danger to life or property. The boiler was replaced by Plymouth council after the landlord failed to undertake the necessary repairs. The Landlord was fined &11,000 and costs of &880.

So are you aware of your legal gas safety duties as a landlord?

Gas safety checks: a 12 monthly gas safety check must be carried out on every gas appliance/flue. A gas safety check will make sure gas fittings and appliances are safe to use.

Record: a record of the annual gas safety check must be provided to your tenant within 28 days of the check being completed or to new tenants before they move in. Copies of the safety records must be kept for 2 years.

Hunters work alongside a number of qualified Gas Safe engineers, so please contact your local branch should you require a Gas Safety check on your property.



Rental Payments

At Hunters we understand that as a Landlord ensuring your Tenant pays the rent on time and in full is a major concern.

The latest survey of arrears in England and Wales suggests the level now stands at 9.1% of all rent due in the private sector, compared to 8.8% a month earlier and just 7.4% a year ago.

At our Central Lettings Accounts office in York, Charlie, Liz, Jemma and Katrina are here to ensure all rents are received on time and any arrears are chased in a timely manner, we are very proud of our arrears percentage which currently stands at 3% compared to the national average in England and Wales.

If you wish to discuss anything to do with your account, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 01904 756137 or email lettingsaccounts@hunters.com.



EPC's Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

From the 1st April 2018 there will be a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to &4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This guidance summarises the regulations. There are separate regulations effective from 1st April 2016 under which a tenant can apply for consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties. Click here to read the RLA guide.

Scope

The Regulations apply to domestic private rented sector properties in England and Wales, including:

  • Properties let under an assured tenancy or shorthold tenancy
  • A tenancy which is a regulated tenancy for the purposes of the Rent Acts
  • Properties let on a tenancy which is an assured agricultural occupancy
  • Properties let on a protected tenancy under the Rent Act 1976
  • Properties let on a statutory tenancy under that Act

Need for an EPC

  • Properties within scope will include any domestic privately rented property which: has an EPC, and is either (i) required to have an EPC; or (ii) is within a larger unit which itself is required to have an EPC, either at point of sale, or point of let. No changes are made to existing regulations regarding the provision of EPCs.
  • Flats and houses are subject to the regulations. In the case of flats this means self-contained unit. Non self-contained units such as bedsits do not require an individual EPC.
  • If a property does not have an EPC then the regulations do not apply.
  • If a bedsit is within a property that does have an EPC then the Regulations will need to be complied with before the bedsit can be rented out. Although as such bedsits do not need an EPC if the house containing the bedsit has been sold for example it will have an EPC in which case the Regulations will apply.

The EPC must be the current EPC if there is one and this must be no more than 10 years old.

Improvements which can be required

Improvement work which can be required is any energy efficiency improvement work which qualifies for Green Deal for the installation of gas for an off gas property so long as the mains are within 23 metres from the property.

Prohibition on letting

A domestic private rented sector property is substandard if the EPC rating is F or G, unless an exemption applies. The legislation prohibits a landlord from letting out a substandard property. If there is an EPC in place which shows that the property is an F or G then it must not be let; otherwise the landlord is liable to penalties. This is subject to any available exemptions. Energy efficiency improvements must be carried out to bring the property up to an E rating at the minimum, unless one of the exemptions is applicable. In particular, if the work cannot be carried out so as to meet the Green Deal Golden Rule then there is potentially an exemption. Under the Golden Rule there should be no upfront costs (or any net cost to the landlord) because savings resulting from the works should repay their cost over the expected lifetime of the works.

If a landlord lets and continues to let the property in breach of the regulations, however, the breach does not affect the validity or legality of the tenancy itself, so the rent still continues to be payable.

If you'd like some assistance in ensuring your property has the correct EPC, contact your local Hunters branch.




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