Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has recently offered letting agents the opportunity to attend the two day HHSRS training course offered by RH Environmental Limited. This innovative approach, is part of the support offered by the council and its partners, as part of its voluntary accreditation scheme PAL.
Over 70 landlords and 9 letting agents have joined the scheme, which now covers over 1500 properties across the local authority area.
The purpose of the HHSRS training was to increase the knowledge of landlords and letting agents and allow them to self-assess their properties and ensure high levels of compliance with housing standards. Although those attending the training found it challenging, feedback following the event was extremely positive and the council is already in the process of arranging another session in the autumn.
The training was offered on a cost recovery basis.
26th June 2015
A Hatfield landlord has been ordered to pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates’ Court to 23 offences relating to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that he owns and manages.
Bobby Fasogbon, 46, of Gaydon Lane, Colindale, London was ordered to pay £12,000 fines, a victim surcharge of £120 and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council was awarded full costs of £5199.32.
The charges relate to a property at 9 Chipmunk Chase in Hatfield and included failure to maintain the property in a safe and satisfactory condition, particularly not complying with fire safety regulations, and failure to supply documents to assist the investigation.
Councillor Mandy Perkins, Executive Member for Planning, Housing and Community said: “Just last week, we were successful in prosecuting two Managing Agents for similar offences and this case is another step forward in a significant series of investigations by our housing team.
“We hope this set of prosecutions will serve as another stark warning to any landlord who compromises residents’ safety.
“I very much encourage landlords in the borough to join the council run scheme, PAL, which makes it easier for landlords to understand and meet high standards of management practice.”
The Partnership Accreditation for Landlords (PAL) scheme recognises landlords and agents who meet their legal obligations but now also includes a ‘gold’ standard for those who go above and beyond to provide quality homes. This new standard was launched at an event on 10 June at the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel.
Explore the PAL website to find out more or call 01707 357 366
The PAL scheme marked its relaunch with a networking dinner at the Mercure Hatfield Oak Hotel on Wednesday 10th June. Seven Letting Agents were officially awarded the PAL ‘Partner’ status. – a title given to Letting or Managing Agents who have been audited and endorsed by PAL.
Pikes Estate Agents Limited; Let me Properties; Raine and Co and The Management Office; Martin and Co Welwyn Hatfield; Strats Estates and Letting Agents Ltd; Infinity Property Solution Ltd; West Hyde Property Limited were recognised for achieving the PAL Partner status
PAL previously just recognised landlords and agents who meet their legal obligations, but now includes a standard for those who go above and beyond to provide quality homes. The accreditation scheme has benefits for both tenants and landlords and has grown in popularity since its launch three years ago.
Mr Saini, a gold standard PAL-accredited landlord in Hatfield, says: “The PAL accreditation gives me peace of mind that my properties comply with all the necessary legal standards. It also helps me to attract tenants by providing independent, third party endorsement.”
Emma Lewis, Community Liaison and Support Officer at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The PAL scheme offers an excellent source of information to our students who wish to live in private off-campus accommodation. The new PAL website allows potential tenants to search for landlords and letting agents who operate to best practice, and recognises those who go above and beyond to provide safe and well-maintained properties. I limit all property recommendations to students and staff to those who have been PAL accredited.”
Ellen Gava, Landlord Accreditation Manager at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said: “We’re encouraging people to look out for the PAL accreditation when choosing rented property. The more people who are aware of the scheme, the more we will raise housing standards across Welwyn Hatfield.”
Councillor Mandy Perkins, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council’s Executive Member for Planning, Housing and Community, said: “The aim of this scheme is to recognise the best landlords and managing agents and to direct residents to accommodation that is managed in the best way.”
A survey from tenant insurance provider Endsleigh reveals that 34% of landlords have given a welcome or farewell gift to a tenant and 30% of tenants have received an act of kindness.
The survey also found 54% of tenants received help with DIY and 29% a bottle of wine as a result. 72% of tenants said such acts positively changed their perception of their landlord.
A positive relationship seems to have an impact on the length of tenancy too with 70% of tenants who receive an act of kindness staying in their property for 24 months or more, compared to just 53% who didn’t receive an act of kindness.
The survey also investigated what the ideal relationship should be between the two parties. Half of the landlords surveyed said that a professional relationship with a tenant is preferable and 49% of tenants agreed. More than a third, 36%, of tenants, wanted a friendly relationship with their landlord compared with just 21% of landlords.
The PAL Code of Practice gives a clear outline of good and professional landlord and agent conduct. We advise that the easiest and most stress free lettings come when there’s a good working relationship between the landlord and the tenant.
The length of void periods experienced by residential landlords in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2002, according to new research.
Void periods are the length of time between tenancies, with Property Wire reporting that these stood at an average of 2.4 weeks during the first quarter of 2015, analysis from Paragon Mortgages shows.
Average void periods have been decreasing in length since 2013, perhaps due to landlords working more closely with letting agents to ensure their properties do not stay empty for too long. If however your property does stay void for long periods, you might qualify for council tax property exemptions and discounts. More information on exemptions and discounts is available on the WHBC website.
Forthcoming legislation is expected to help tenants stay warm and reduce their energy bills.
The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015 No. 799 aims to improve the energy efficiency of privately rented properties and will mean that:
- From April 2016, residential private landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent to a tenant’s request for energy efficiency improvements where Green Deal finance or subsidies are available to pay for them.
- From April 2018, private domestic and non-domestic landlords will need to ensure that their properties reach at least an E EPC rating, or have installed those improvements that could be funded using available Green Deal finance or subsidies available to pay for them, before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants.
- These requirements will apply to all private rented properties – including occupied properties – from April 2020 in the domestic sector (and from April 2023 in the non-domestic sector).
The new piece of legislation could help around a million tenants who are currently paying £1,000 more than average on their energy bills.
PAL strongly recommends that landlords start working towards improving their property EPC rating now and don’t wait until the legislation is introduced. The PAL gold standard for accredited properties requires an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a minimum rating of D.
- Universal Credit (UC) Information for Landlords
- HHSRS Training for letting agents in Welwyn Hatfield
- HMO landlord hit with over £17,000 in fines and costs
- Go for gold when renting
- A little goes a long way
- Residential landlords in the UK see lowest void periods for 13 years
- Government plans for energy performance ratings
HHSRS Training for letting agents in Welwyn Hatfield
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has recently offered letting agents the opportunity to attend the two day HHSRS training course offered by RH Environmental Limited. This innovative approach, is part of the support offered by the council and its partners, as part of its voluntary accreditation scheme PAL. Over 70 landlords and 9 letting agents have … Continue reading HHSRS Training for letting agents in Welwyn Hatfield
HMO landlord hit with over £17,000 in fines and costs
26th June 2015 A Hatfield landlord has been ordered to pay more than £17,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates’ Court to 23 offences relating to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) that he owns and manages. Bobby Fasogbon, 46, of Gaydon Lane, Colindale, London was ordered to pay £12,000 … Continue reading HMO landlord hit with over £17,000 in fines and costs