Landlords are being warned that the HMRC are looking to crack down on those who don’t pay enough tax. It’s easy even for conscientious landlords to sometimes fail to pay their dues, especially as tax affairs can complex and difficult to manage. But with HMRC targeting landlords now is a good time to make sure you’re paying enough. Continue reading
The Derby City Council is looking to create new rules for private landlords that are letting property in areas that have an antisocial problem.
At the moment public housing providers have to take action against their tenants if they are behaving in an inappropriate fashion however this obligation is not the same for private tenants.
The council is hoping to impose rules which would mean that landlords who are in a certain zone have to be licensed. They are currently looking into rules from the Government to see if this is possible.
Landlords will be required to purchase their own licence which is another additional cost private landlords will encounter on top of others such as landlord insurance.
The new scheme would be put into place in the areas that have had complaints about antisocial behaviour.
Dawn Gee is a private landlord in Derbyshire, she has said, “I certainly think that action should be taken, landlords have a part to play.
“Already, antisocial behaviour, gangs congregating and fly-tipping have driven people away from parts of Normanton.
“If you look down Stanton Street and Porter Road there are properties that are empty and lots of ‘To Let’ signs up.
“The community has broken down and I’m keen on anything that can be bought in to change that.
“But my concern is that it will end up being the law-abiding landlords who engage with this, while those landlords who are the problem will ignore it. How will the council enforce this?”
The council haven’t decided which areas they will enforce this new proposal on however they have said there will be a £20,000 fine for those who do not follow the new rules.
There are also some tests to go through before landlords will be able to have a licence. Someone will need to check that their property is safe and that they have no criminal convictions. One of the other criteria is that the landlord will help the police and the council when it comes to antisocial tenants.
The properties also have to fit in with a list of conditions increase fire, gas and electrical safety. The property also needs to be visually acceptable and managed to a good standard. Landlords will also need to get references before they agree a tenancy.
Residential landlords in London and Glasgow, two of the UK’s largest cities, have been warned that local authorities are no longer prepared to put up with non compliance over registration schemes and that rogue landlords will be hunted down and brought before the courts.
Good relationships work best
Of course the great majority of landlords across the UK are highly respected businesspersons who look after their properties as one would expect. A costly investment needs protection, not only in the guise of landlord insurance but also in maintenance, and décor, something achieved best by having an excellent relationship with their tenant. Many local authorities encourage even better relationships between landlord and tenant by requiring property owners to register with them so they can ascertain they are fit and proper persons to rent out property. The schemes work well for landlords and tenants in many of Britain’s towns and cities.
Majority of landlords support council scheme
In Glasgow 80% of the cities private landlords have signed up to a scheme which requires them to register with the local council and provide tenants with a certain level of accommodation. The scheme has been in operation for over 6 years and although landlords who have signed up to the scheme have no problem with the scheme itself they have been concerned over the councils lack of action with the 6,000 landlords who have not signed up to a scheme that was supposed to be compulsory. At long last the council appear to have listened to landlord organisations and have stepped up their efforts to track down the illegal traders.
Fine increased ten fold
The council, with the support of the Scottish Landlords Association, have now upped the maximum fine for not registering with the scheme to £50,000, ten times higher than it was before. They are collating evidence of properties not already registered to the scheme and preparing to take the landlords to court.
Website will collect information on rogue landlords
Further south in London, Ken Livingstone a candidate for the upcoming Mayoral elections has pledged that private landlords who don’t offer acceptable levels of accommodation to their tenants will be looking for empty property insurance if he is elected. He has pledged to eradicate bad practice from the rented sector altogether saying Londoners deserve a better deal. Mr Livingstone has set up a website encouraging tenants to report the many “housing horror stories” he says he hears about constantly. He promises to closely monitor the 1 in 4 homes in London that are rented out via the private sector and says that too many people are paying exorbitant prices for accommodation that in many cases is not at an acceptable level.