Petersfield Landlords – Electrical Safety Standards

We know being a landlord is often a trying position. There is a considerable amount of work involved with the process of being a landlord, and we know it is hard to keep up with regulations. At Williams of Petersfield, we aim to provide a service which ensures you remain up to date with all regulations, which is why we are keen to inform you of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020.

While the House of Commons and the House still have to approve the regulations, it is very likely they will come into effect from the 1st of July 2020. All new tenancies which begin on or after this date are required to have a five-year electrical certificate in place. This test must be carried out by a registered electrician.

Landlords must renew the certificate by the stated date in the report

While the standard renewal period is five years, if the certificate recommends the property be tested in less than five years, this will be the relevant renewal date that landlords must abide by. All new tenancies is set to include renewals, and tenancies which become statutory periodic tenancies.

All existing tenancies must comply with the regulations from the 1st of April 2021.

If landlords are familiar with the regulations associated with Gas Safety, they will have a good understanding of what is required from them with Electrical Safety. When the landlord receives the certificate, a copy must be provided to the tenant within 28 days. At the start of a tenancy, the landlord must provide a new tenant with a copy of the certificate. During the letting phase, potential new tenants have the right to request a copy of the electrical safety certificate.

Local authorities can request a copy of the electrical safety certificate

Landlords should be aware local authorities have the right to request a copy of the electrical safety certificate. If a local authority requests a copy, the landlord should provide a copy within seven days.

When remedial work is required in a rental property, it must be carried out within 28 days or by the date stated in the report. The date which comes first is the relevant date for carrying out work. When remedial work has been completed, landlords should receive written confirmation of the upgrades. A copy of this confirmation should be provided to tenants and the local council, if requested.

Any landlord that fails to comply with the new regulations faces a fine of up to £30,000; which will be imposed by the local council.

We know landlords must comply with a lot of regulations, and having more matters to comply with is far from ideal. However, many people in the industry, including landlords, have been calling out for this style of test. If you are a landlord in or around Petersfield, and you need support in managing your rental property, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Petersfield Landlords: Is Your Home Fit For Human Habitation?

We know that Petersfield landlords have a lot to consider, but at Williams of Petersfield, we aim to provide as much support and guidance as we can. If you struggle to stay in touch with regulations, rely on us to keep you informed and up to date. There is a new Act coming into effect this month, and it is vital you are aware of how it may impact your business.

Be ready for further changes in the rental sector

All landlords in the country should be mindful of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act. This Act comes into effect on the 20th of March. Rental property is required to be fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and throughout the lease.

The Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act applies to:

  • Tenancies shorter than seven years, taking effect on or after the 20th of March 2019
  • New assured, introductory and secure tenancies, taking effect on or after the 20th of March 2019
  • Fixed-term tenancies which renew from the 20th of March 2019

From 20th of March 2020, the Act applies for all periodic tenancies.

There are exemptions to the Act. If the tenant, or their possessions, have caused the problem, landlords are not required to resolve the issue. If a problem is down to an Act of God, the landlord is not responsible for the matter. If a landlord is unable to gain consent for improvement work, they will not be responsible for the problem. Also, if a tenant isn’t an individual, with examples of this including the tenant being a Housing Association or Local Authority, the landlord will not be responsible for improvements.

The Act applies to the rental dwelling and common areas where the landlord carried an interest.

The courts are responsible for determining if a property is fit for humans or not. The basis of the court’s findings will be made on Section 10 of the Tenant Act 1985.

Landlords should consider:

  • A lack of ventilation at the property
  • A lack of natural light in the rental property
  • Issues with hot and cold water
  • Difficulties in cooking food
  • Difficulties in washing up
  • Dampness
  • Unstable structure

Landlords could face a compensation order

When a house is deemed unfit for human habitation, and the landlord is to blame, the court can order necessary improvements at the rental home. The courts can also order the landlord to pay compensation to the tenant. The amount of compensation required will depend on many factors. The impact on the tenant, the length of time the tenant has endured a problem and the condition of the rental property are all factors that will influence any compensation.

Most landlords across the country, and in Petersfield, will not be affected by this new Act. However, with tenants having the right to sue landlords when a rental property is in poor condition, landlords must be aware of the new Act.

If you are a Petersfield landlord and you require assistance in letting property, contact Williams of Petersfield, and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Landlords Feeling Optimistic For 2019

You would forgive some landlords for not feeling optimistic about the condition of the rental and lettings market. In recent times, the Government has imposed many new regulations and challenges on landlords, and there has been anecdotal evidence of many lettings professionals deciding it is time to leave the market. Thankfully, a recent study suggests otherwise, and it looks as though there are many landlords feeling optimistic for 2019. Continue reading “Landlords Feeling Optimistic For 2019”

Petersfield Landlords: Be Prepared For New Electrical Safety Checks

It is important that landlords remain up to date and fully information of all regulations that impact on their business. While many of these regulations make sense and create better living conditions for tenants, the fact that there are so many new regulations and updates to consider, places landlords under considerable pressure. Even landlords who are keen to fully comply with regulations sometimes struggle to remain up to date, but Williams of Petersfield aims to assist Petersfield landlords remain fully informed.

While there is no date announced for rented properties to have electrical installations tested every five years, it looks likely to be implemented soon. There have been various calls for this measure to be introduced over the year with the most recent occurring at the end of 2017. It is likely that this move, backed by a variety of working groups from leading industry bodies, has shaped the recent Government decision.

New measures will be introduced soon for Petersfield landlords to be aware of

The plans were introduced by James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary, alongside a package of measures which are aimed at improving the standard of building safety. It was also announced that there will be a consultation in building regulations, with this arising from the review undertaken by Dame Judith Hackitt. Very few people would argue against improving standards with respect to rental accommodation but there is a need to ensure that landlords can make these changes and alterations without harming their own business.

Petersfield landlords

The news has been welcomed by the Electrical Safety First group, with their Director General Phil Buckle stating; “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.” This is a group that has lobbied for these changes, so are understandably pleased with this outcome.

MPs from all parties have backed these plans

The organisation was quick to point out that their calls for these tests have been supported by 71% of MPs, which includes support from all political parties in the country. With this sort of backing, it was always likely that these changes would be passed, and it is another issue that Petersfield landlords will have to consider.

By itself, these additional checks on electrical appliances shouldn’t cause too much bother but it is the fact that there are so many tests and checks for landlords to deal with which creates a problem. If you are a landlord in Petersfield who is struggling to remain fully informed about what you need to do to run your business, contact Williams of Petersfield. We are local lettings specialists and we are here to provide you with the support and guidance you need to run your business in an effective manner.

20% of English Households Live In Private Rented Property

If you are considering the rental market, or you just want an overview of the complete property market in England, you’ll be interested to note that one in five households currently rent privately in the country. With 20% of the market, this is a notable part of the market and with predictions suggesting that this will increase further in the next few years, it is easy to see why many people are considering the rental market.

It should be stated that homeownership is still the most common tenure in England with 63% of households. There are 14.4 million homes in England with owner-occupation status and 34% of English properties are owned outright and 28% of properties in the country are currently under mortgage.

There is also the social rented sector to consider and this accounts for 17% of households in England, which is equivalent to 3.9 million households.

Owner-occupation levels have fallen in the past decade

Statistics provided by the English Housing Survey offers an insight into the current market and recent behaviour. Something which will be of interest to investors is the fact that owner-occupation has dropped considerably from its peak in 2003, when it reached 71%. There has however been a consistent level since 2013/14 so it may be that the market is plateaued with first-time buyers replacing people selling up to move on or who pass away. 2013/14 was also the year when the number of outright owners was greater than the number of mortgage holders, a return which has remained true since then.

An aging population shapes the property market

While there may be many reasons for this status, it is likely that the aging population of the country has influenced this. After all, with people living longer, they have hopefully paid off their mortgage before now, which is reflected in the status of property owners.

are landlords selling

While shared ownership has been stated as a way of getting on to the property ladder, it only accounts for less than 1% of all owner-occupiers which equates to around 136,000 households. Another interesting issue from the findings is the fact that homeowners are getting under. In 2016/17, homeowners under the age of 35 accounted for 9% of the market. Just two decades ago, the same group accounted for 18%.

In the same time-period, there has also been a significant increase in the size of the private rented market. In fact, this has accelerated greatly in the past 10 years, with 2 million households being added to the sector in this time, resulting in 4.7 million households being classed as private rental property in 2016/17.

A variety of factors shape the property market, and therefore, so many investors have confidence in the rental market. There are so many signs that indicate this will be a market that continues to grow for years to come, offering confidence for people looking to enter the market. If you are a Petersfield landlord looking for support or you would like guidance on becoming a landlord in Petersfield, contact Williams of Petersfield and we will be more than happy to assist you.

Are Landlords Selling Up? How Will This Impact On Property Market?

Even though there are many factors shaping the behaviour of the property market in England, there is consensus that a lack of affordable homes is a key factor. Brexit may be the issue that receives most media coverage but if there were more homes on the market, there would likely be more affordable homes and the level of pressure that buyers feel in the market would be lower.

At Williams of Petersfield, we know that many people have concerns about the property market, and they are keen to stay in touch with the latest news. You will also find that people are keen to hear predictions for the property market and information provided by the National Landlords Association is of interest to prospective buyers, property owners and even tenants.

The NLA suggests landlords selling up is likely

The NLA conducted a poll of its members and they found that in the next 12 months, around 20% of landlords are looking to sell property. Of this group looking to sell their property, which equates to around 380,000 landlords, 45% of landlords are looking to sell flats or apartments.

This news is likely to be welcomed by first-time buyers. Flats and apartments are the properties most commonly bought by people stepping on to the property ladder for the first time, so if the market is flooded with these properties, first-time buyers should have a greater chance of buying.

are landlords selling
House XXL

Given that a crucial component of property prices being high is the fact that demand is greater than supply, a significant increase in the supply of properties could lead to prices falling. That is the hope of many people, but of course, when it comes to property prices, the market doesn’t always behave in the manner that you expect it too.

Tenants wouldn’t view this news as positive

While this report will be viewed as positive news by people looking to buy property, it will be concerning news for tenants and people priced out of the property market. Many people find the rental market challenging as it is but if the supply of flats and apartments to the market dropped significantly, there could be ramifications for the market.

It would be reasonable enough to assume that rental fees would rise, and many people would find themselves priced out of the rental market, never mind the property market. Also, with flats and apartments being popular in the rental market, there could be a significant fall in the supply of suitable homes.

There is no guarantee that these predictions will come true. It may be that landlords find it easier to say they intend to sell property in a survey than it is to sell in real life, but there is no denying that the property and rental market will be significantly impacted on if these changes come to pass.

No matter what your aims or ambitions are in the Petersfield property market, it makes sense to be fully informed. At Williams of Petersfield, we look forward to assisting you and if you require any guidance, get in touch and we will be keen to assist you.


Legislative Changes The Biggest Threat To Landlords

Being a landlord can be very difficult and there are many challenges that must be overcome, including legislative changes. In recent times, there have been notable rental fee increases and to the outsider, this will seem like positive news for landlords.

Continue reading “Legislative Changes The Biggest Threat To Landlords”

Landlords: Ready For 2018 EPC Regulation Changes?

It is important that landlords keep up to date with all of the changes with respect to rules and regulations of their industry. There have been many changes in recent times but any landlord who felt that 2018 was going to be slightly easier will probably want to think again. As of the 1st of April 2018, there will be big changes relating to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for new lets.

The change is related to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations of 2015 and the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES, which are being introduced. The change comes into effect for new lets and renewals of tenancies from the 1st of April of 2018 and by the 1st of April 2020, this regulation will be applicable to all existing tenancies. The minimum rating for these tenancies will be an E rating and if a landlord doesn’t comply with the regulations, they may face a civil penalty of up to £4,000.

Know the full regulations regarding the MEES

There are some exemptions where a landlord will be able to let property that holds a lower EPC rating than this, and these exemptions include:

  • Where a third party has to provide agreement for improvements to be undertaken and they don’t
  • Where work carried out on the property would lower the value of the property by at least 5% (this will be evaluated by an independent professional)
  • Where all possible improvements have been carried out and the property still falls below the EPC rating
  • Where the landlord would be left out of pocket

EPC regulations

It is essential that landlords are aware that there are grants and funding on offer to ensure they comply with the regulations. The exemptions can only exist for a maximum of five years and they are not able to be transferred over to another landlord.

It makes sense to improve the EPC rating of your property

There is a lot to be said for improving the energy efficiency rating of a property and this is true for landlords and tenants. A real benefit to the tenant comes with the fact that moving from a G rating to an E rating can lower the average annual heating bills by more than £1,000. This is something that will please a tenant and may help them stay in the property for a longer period. This will be of benefit to the landlord, minimising void periods and ensuring that they have less work to do.

A landlord can also take comfort in knowing that their property is in better condition, it’s value should have improved and they will likely be able to raise rental fees with some justification.

We know that things are difficult for landlords at the moment and if you need any assistance or guidance, please get in touch with Williams of Petersfield and we will do our best to help you out. This is just one of the many changes that landlords have had to deal with but we are on hand to ensure you know what you need to know.