West of England Rental Standard

Further to the discussion last time progress has been made in further developing this scheme

and it appears that it will continue. As previously advised the aim of the scheme is to provide

one logo to promote and raise awareness of all the different accreditation schemes available.

Currently landlords accredited with LASW and agents accredited with RICS or NALS are

eligible to use the logo. It is believed that the NLA and ARLA are due to join and LASW is

hoping to extend its accreditation scheme to agents. The University of Plymouth has also

expressed interest in joining. There is a dedicated website and the aim is to have all SW

authorities promoting the scheme.

 

You can look this up on line.


Housing Benefit and local authorities

Rachel Allen, of Firstbay Lettings, has provided the following positive news of her / landlords recent triumphs regarding Housing Benefit abandonment payments / blameless tenant recovery. It goes to show that the local authorities can be challenged if you follow the correct procedures. 

1)  Tenant in a 2 bed property was  issued a Section 21 eviction notice  which was then later revoked by the landlord.  Tenant left property with no notice given to agent or landlord, 7 day abandonment proceedings began, Housing Benefit were notified by landlord and they stopped the claim from the date of vacation of property. Upon appeal we argued that entitlement should be paid up to date of end of statutory notice period. Housing Benefit agreed to pay a further 4 weeks entitlement to the landlord upon proof of Section.21 notice revoked. 

 2)  Tenant in 1 bed flat left and moved out of the area.  Landlord discovered abandonment after the fact and again 7 day abandonment proceedings began.  Housing Benefit were notified but they then claimed excess of £600 overpayment back from the landlord, backdated to when they thought tenant had left the property.  By appealing the decision that statutory notice period have not been adhered to or paid up to, Housing Benefit paid the overpayment back to the landlord. Housing Benefit decided to invoice the tenant for the excess instead.

 3)  Classic abandonment situation with tenant departing overnight, by leaving numerous belongings in property and causing lots of damage.  7 day abandonment proceedings adhered to.  Housing Benefit notified landlord of intention to claim back - under blameless tenant recovery. This was dated from when the tenant started a new tenancy on a different property. Housing Benefit had already claimed back without notification one week’s entitlement that they claimed had been paid in error.  Again upon appeal that statutory notice not adhered to, and that no prior notification of previous amount claimed back. Housing Benefit agreed to repay the one week’s entitlement and cancelled the intended clawback, and paid up to end of statutory notice period.

Based on Rachel's comments, this demonstrates why knowing the rules is important, and highlights the value in using a professional who has relevant experience.

 

 


Universal Credit information for landlords on the Government website

Dear Members,

Please see the link below taken from the Government's website regarding an update on Universal Credit information for landlords.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-rented-housing--2


The government has just announced its intention to extend mandatory licensing to thousands more HMO's, in an effort to prevent so-called 'rogue landlords' from exploiting their tenants.

The new regime is expected to take effect in 2016 and individuals and organisations have been invited to submit their views to the government.

  1. Property size thresholds could be lowered or removed entirely.
  2. Exception for family lets could be revoked.
  3. Flats in mixed-use buildings and 'section 257′ blocks to be licenced.
  4. New minimum room size requirements to be introduced.

Will any of your properties be affected? the document is 19 pages and 5,000 words long, so we have summarised the key points for you. Read our article and find out how you can submit your views before the December 18 deadline.

For more information click here


The established parties are coming out with policies thick and fast as the clock ticks down to a tight and unpredictable UK election on May 7th

These include; building more houses & new towns, extending social housing and the right to own, increasing affordable housing, greater local authority housing planning, improving tenant rights, changes to housing benefits, starting a national landlord register, and the following.

Imposing a CPI-linked cap on rents could deter much needed investment in the housing sector, the property industry has warned.

The Labour party yesterday pledged to cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during secure three-year tenancies.

The British Property Federation (BPF), which represents those who invest in and develop property, said that an overly-prescriptive approach to rent increases could deter much-needed investment in the housing sector.

The organisation also highlighted how the policy could lead to uneven rent rises for tenants who live in a property for several years, when the rent returns to market after three years.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: "Ultimately what will help tenants best is more investment in housing.

"Pension funds and other institutions have billions to invest in this market – developing places that would provide a new generation of high-quality homes that offer greater choice to renters, including the option to sign longer tenancies."This additional investment will be vital to tackle the housing crisis, and we would urge the next government to do all it can to encourage it, rather than chase it away with an overly-proscriptive approach to rent setting. "In places like London, tenants will find this policy on rents may make their budgeting harder, rather than easier. Their rent will tick along at CPI for a couple of years and then they will face a potential sharp rise in year three when the rent returns to market."

Manifesto Summary

Labour

Create a national register of private landlords. Ban unfair letting agent fees. Introduce three-year tenancy agreements, starting with a six-month probationary period allowing landlords to evict a tenant if they are in breach of their contract, with a ceiling on excessive rent rises. Strengthen standards to improve the energy efficiency of properties. Deliver a million interest-free loans for energy home improvements. Make energy efficiency improvements to 200,000 low income households. Stop immigrants from claiming benefits for at least two years. Cap structural social security spending so that it is properly planned and controlled. Pause and review Universal Credit.

Conservative

No household will receive more than £23,000 in benefits, exempting those receiving Disability Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment. 18-21 year olds will no longer have automatic entitlement to housing benefit. Freeze most working age benefits for two years from April 2016.

Liberal Democrat

New help to rent, tenancy deposit loans to help young people get into their first place. Target for all social and private rented homes to reach EPC Band C by 2027 (and by 2035 for all houses).

All low-income homes to be Band C by 2027. A new Feed Out Tariff for investment in solid wall insulation. Reform the Green Deal into a new Green Homes Loan Scheme, funding renewable heat and electricity alongside energy efficiency. Ban landlords from letting out homes tenants cannot reasonably afford to heat. Introduce a Council Tax discount for significant improvements in energy efficiency in homes, and a statutory target to bring the homes of all fuel-poor households to Band C by 2027.

The Association has and will continue to lobby local MP's on behalf of members, they are eager to win votes so please take this opportunity to get your voice heard.

annemarie@annemariemorris..co.uk
adrian@adriansanders.org
sarah.wollaston.mp@parliament.uk
ben4exeter@gmail.com

Regards
Roger Easterbrook
Chairman DLA


Many of us have had cases where a tenant's family member or members is/are a blight on the local community. Now we are able to take action to get rid of the 'problem' family and restore tranquillity to the neighbourhood. The following information was produced by Matthew Lake of the Solicitors Weightmans LLP in the journal 'Inside Housing' dated 7 January 2015.

While the law in relation to possession claims based on anti-social behaviour is due to change shortly, this case is a useful guide.

The recent case of Greenwich Royal Borough Council v Tuitt on 24 November 2014 has cast light on when it might be appropriate to seek an order for possession against a tenant, based on anti-social behaviour not by the tenant, but by someone else in the household.

The tenant's son was part of a gang causing anti-social behaviour on the estate. He was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, breached his bail conditions and was then convicted of criminal damage.The local authority issued possession proceedings based on the tenant's son's actions and the judge ordered outright possession.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the tenant's appeal and reaffirmed the decision in the 2006 case Knowsley Housing Trust v McMullen, which found that the court is not prevented from ordering possession against a tenant who is unable to control a person in their household committing acts of anti-social behaviour.

When considering whether to make an order for possession that is applied for relying on grounds 1 and 2 in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985, section 85a of that Act requires the court to consider a number of factors and the Court of Appeal ruled that the judge in the Greenwich case had undertaken a fair and complete review.

The judge had taken account of the tenant's son's inability to control his temper, the tenant's failed attempts to control her son, the tenant's suggestion that her son was not at fault and the tenant's failure to consider asking her son to leave the property.

While the law in relation to possession claims based on anti-social behaviour is due to change shortly, this case is a useful guide.

Peter Lewis
Consultant to DLA


Water bills warning to all Members

We all need to be aware of the following change in legislation relating to tenants and water bills. The 2010 Flood and Water Management Act which has recently come into effect now makes landlords jointly and severally responsible for tenants overdue water charges IF LANDLORDS FAIL TO NOTIFY THEIR WATER COMPANY OF THE TENANTS DETAILS.

This is not retrospective legislation so applies only for NEW tenancies. So now we all need to inform the water authority of the tenants details if we do not want a hefty bill landed upon us if the tenant defaults.


Article courtesy of lovemoney.com

Solid start for Property Alert Service, which helps prevent homes from being stolen by fraudsters.

Most of the scams that we focus on these days involve fraudsters using email, internet and phone work. But there remains some old-fashioned document forgery which has been both remarkably easy to carry out and amazingly lucrative. It's stealing someone's house.

And while anyone can be a victim, the main targets are elderly residents and those who have rented out their home, often when they go to live abroad. Other potential losers include those in long term hospital care, owners of empty properties, and couples in the throes of a complex and acrimonious divorce.

Now, however, there is a fightback against property fraud which has shown remarkable results over its first six months. The Property Alert service helps detect unusual activity on homes which might well be fraudulent. Even before this service was set up, police and Land Registry officials had detected some £66 million in dishonest transactions. Since then, they have stopped millions more, and signed up some 12,000 individual property owners to the free service.

Losses can be enormous; given the present price of homes, victims can lose six figure sums. Even though there can be some compensation on registered properties – any sold or mortgaged since 1998 – no one wants to go through this process, especially if they are vulnerable.

Compare mortgages with lovemoney.com

How homes are stolen

The simplest method is where someone uses false documents to raise money on a property via a mortgage.

Years ago I wrote about a Brighton homeowner who had moved on a long term basis to the Far East as a teacher. He had rented his UK property out via an agency. A prospective tenant turned up, paid six months' rent in advance, and took the keys.

Once in the house, he easily accumulated identity documents such as utility bills and a voting register presence. Armed with these, he found a 'friendly' mortgage broker who arranged an £80,000 remortgage – easy as the original borrowings had been paid off. The thief took the £80,000, and disappeared. When the real owner returned, he found demands for mortgage repayments. This was eventually settled because the broker had been negligent.

Besides mortgage fraud, scam merchants sometimes simply try to sell the property to a cash buyer – there are plenty around prepared to pay for what appears to be a bargain.

So far more than 12,000 have signed up to the Land Registry's Property Alert service, which provides an early warning of suspicious activity on someone's property. But that leaves millions who are both unaware of the risks and unaware of the service.

How to join Property Alert

To join Property Alert, you need to set up a free online account with Land Registry. You can monitor up to ten properties – important when absent owners such as buy-to-let landlords are a prime target .

The Registry will send an email when it receives an application to change the register as well as for official searches. It's then up to the property owner to judge if the activity is suspicious – for instance when a bank lodges a search on your property, but you haven't applied for a mortgage. This can trigger investigations much earlier.

Owners can also make a request to have a restriction entered on their property. This is designed to help prevent forgery by requiring a solicitor or conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner. Amazingly, this is still not a requirement.

In April this year, Marshall Joseph and Alick Kapikanya, part of a gang which netted £3.5 million and would have grabbed a further £3.3 million had they not been stopped, were jailed for four-and-a-half years and six years respectively at Manchester Crown Court. They had bought big homes and expensive cars with the proceeds and also gambled heavily at casinos.

The pair recruited a team of fraudsters including a bent conveyancer to get title deeds. Then they used fake passports, driving licences and utility bills to pose as the real owners.

The gang would go to solicitors' offices using the fake documents to sign over the properties to Joseph so he could take out loans with financial institutions, securing the mortgages against the 'stolen' homes.

The true owners of the ten properties involved knew nothing about the scam loans. The police uncovered the fraud after Joseph defaulted on repayments and it emerged he was involved in a string of other rackets.

Detective Constable Craig Moylon, of Greater Manchester Police Major Fraud Unit, said after the trail: "This was a meticulously planned series of frauds which involved different people playing different parts all for a common purpose with no regard for the devastation they were to have on many innocent parties who suffered the traumatic experience of fearing they had lost their homes or were potentially liable for loans of hundreds of thousands of pounds were forced to instruct solicitors to have their homes put back in their name and the secured loans removed from their titles."


Dear Members,

The importance of independent inventories has been made by me many times now and I hope that members are heeding this advice, especially if the property is being managed personally. There are several good reasons for this:-

  1. The inventory provides essential evidence if there is a dispute and is given greater weight by those involved in the disputes resolution service.
  2. The inventory is a shared document and should belong to the tenant and the landlord. As such its cost should be equally shared by both parties and should include a charge for a recheck at the 3 month point. This keeps both parties on their toes and informs the tenant that it will be re-inspected which will put off canabis farmers!
  3. The charge for inventory and also for checking residency status should now be included in any private rental agreement as well as charges for credit reference checks. This cost should not be met in full by you, the landlord even though I know that many of us do not make an initial charge for this. It is something we should consider as part of our professional approach to the business we are in, however large our portfolio. Thorough checking will provide peace of mind and help put off tenants who set out to abuse landlords.

I am sure the guide will be of use and interest to us all. Click the link below to view guide.

Mydeposits Guide – The ins and outs of inventories

Peter Lewis
Chairman DLA


Superstrike Ltd vs. Marino Rodrigues

Guidance on the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment
Tenancy deposit protection
July 2013

Introduction
This guidance has been jointly produced by the authorised tenancy deposit schemes:

  • my|deposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
  • Capita

The Department for Communities and Local Government has met with the tenancy deposit schemes and has received a copy of this guidance note. We are aware that the industry bodies are publishing additional guidance on the Superstrike judgment. These bodies have identified other options for landlords and agents such as returning the deposit or creating new fixed term tenancies.

Our guidance to members is limited to situations where the member wishes to continue to have a deposit and wants to consider the options available post Superstrike.

None of the tenancy deposit schemes can offer legal advice to landlords or lettings agents. This guidance is not intended to give legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. If you have concerns you should get your own legal advice based on your own individual circumstances. However we have set out our shared understanding of the position and the options we think are available to landlords and lettings agents in the future.

Summary of the Superstrike vs. Rodrigues case
The recent Court of Appeal case of Superstrike vs. Rodrigues concerns an assured shorthold tenancy which was created in January 2007 prior to the introduction of mandatory tenancy deposit protection on 6 April 2007. The tenancy continued on a statutory periodic basis from January 2008 and the deposit remained unprotected. In 2011 a Section 21 notice was served to end the tenancy. The Court of Appeal has ruled that when the tenancy continued on a statutory periodic basis in 2008 a new tenancy was made and a new deposit was deemed to have been received, and therefore fell under the requirements of tenancy deposit protection legislation. Having not met those requirements (to protect the deposit and serve Prescribed Information, including serving the scheme leaflet) the landlord was not entitled to serve a s21 notice.

Why this Guidance?
The decision has undoubtedly caused some confusion about the legal position on some aspects of deposit protection. Until there are further cases decided in the higher Courts or a change in the law made then there will continue to be some uncertainty about the legal position.

This document contains guidance from the tenancy deposit schemes on protecting deposits and serving prescribed information in the follow circumstances:

  1. Deposits taken on assured shorthold tenancies before 6 April 2007 where these tenancies became statutory periodic tenancies or fixed term tenancies after 6 April 2007

Guidance below

  1. Existing statutory periodic tenancies and renewals of fixed term assured shorthold tenancies where the deposit is already protected in an authorised scheme

Guidance below

  1. New statutory periodic tenancies or renewals on a new fixed term where the deposit is already protected in an authorised scheme.

Deposits taken on assured shorthold tenancies before

6 April 2007 where these tenancies became statutory periodic

tenancies or fixed term tenancies after 6 April 2007

The decision in the Court of Appeal has clarified that, in this scenario, the deposit should be protected and the Prescribed Information served at the time the tenancy became periodic or was renewed. This is a change to the way in which it was understood the legislation was meant to operate but nonetheless

is now the legal position.

Our Position
If you hold a deposit taken on an assured shorthold tenancy before 6 April 2007 and it remains in place and unprotected when a statutory periodic tenancy arises you should:

  • protect this deposit with an authorised scheme now;
  • issue Prescribed Information now; and
  • retain records to demonstrate how and when you did this.

This could help show that you are complying with the legislation as now interpreted by the Court of Appeal. However, it is the case that you will have protected the deposit late and will also have served the Prescribed Information late. In these circumstances you can only issue a section 21 notice if you return the deposit to the tenant in full, or with agreed deductions.

A Court may also issue you with a penalty in respect of the late protection but your action in protecting the deposit late, and keeping records to demonstrate that you did this because of Superstrike, may help to mitigate this.

Where a deposit is already protected and the tenancy has been renewed (either a statutory periodic tenancy or with a new fixed term)

There is significant speculation about the impact of the Superstrike decision on:

  • deposits relating to statutory periodic tenancies which were created when an assured shorthold tenancy with a protected deposit expired; and
  • deposits relating to a renewal of an assured shorthold tenancy with a protected deposit. The decision in Superstrike confirms that a statutory periodic tenancy is a new tenancy.

This begs the question whether the deposit that has already been protected, needs to be re-protected, and PI re-served. It should be stressed that these issues were not directly addressed in Superstrike but we would suggest that this could be an argument made for a tenant in any future case.

In these circumstances, if a Court was persuaded by these arguments then a landlord who had either not re-protected the deposit or with a protected deposit who had not served the Prescribed Information on the renewal of the tenancy or the creation of a statutory periodic tenancy, might be unable to serve a section 21 notice. They might also be subject to a financial penalty of between one and three times the deposit (plus the return of the deposit itself).

Our Position

Confirm that the deposit is protected by an authorised scheme

Where a deposit was protected in relation to a tenancy, which has now become a statutory periodic tenancy or been renewed for a further fixed term, you should check that it remains protected by the scheme.

Prescribed Information, including supplying a copy of the scheme leaflet

If you have not served the Prescribed Information at renewal of the tenancy or it becoming a statutory periodic tenancy there is a risk that a Court might find that you have not complied with the legislation and not allow you to use the section 21 procedure. In addition you may find that you are subject to a financial penalty for not serving the Prescribed Information. Following Superstrike there are now three options available for serving Prescribed Information:

1: Do nothing

Do nothing and if challenged, rely on the fact that the Prescribed Information was served when the deposit was first received and that Superstrike did not deal with the issue of Prescribed Information. However, the risk is that a Court, applying the Superstrike reasoning, will find that the Prescribed Information has not been served, refuse a section 21 Notice and issue a financial penalty. You would then need to re-serve the Prescribed Information and serve a new section 21 Notice. This will lead to a delay in obtaining possession. Remember that in the absence of a s21 hearing tenants could still claim the statutory penalty for non-service of the PI.

Because of the uncertainty on the legal position you should seek your own legal advice before deciding whether any of these options works for you. We will continue to monitor the position and issue updated guidance as further decisions are made by the courts or government.

Option 2: Issue the Prescribed Information now

You may decide to re-issue the Prescribed Information now to ensure that you can rely on the section 21 Notice. In these circumstances the Court may decide that the Prescribed Information was served late and issue you with a financial penalty for this. Remember that in the absence of a s21 hearing tenants could still claim the statutory penalty for late service of the PI.

Option 3: Issue the Prescribed Information before you serve a Section 21 notice

You may decide not to issue the Prescribed Information now for all affected tenancies on the grounds that most tenancies end by agreement and without dispute. You may however decide to re-serve the Prescribed Information when you feel that you need to issue a section 21 Notice. If you do so the Court may decide that the Prescribed Information has been served late and issue you with a financial penalty for this.

Remember that in the absence of a s21 hearing tenants could still claim the statutory penalty for non-service of the PI or for late service (where applicable).

Because of the uncertainty on the legal position you should seek your own legal advice before deciding whether any of these options works for you. We will continue to monitor the position and issue updated guidance as further decisions are made by the courts or government.

New statutory periodic tenancies or renewals on a new fixed term where the deposit is currently protected

Our Position

  • We recommend that in order to ensure full compliance with the implications of the Superstrike decision, you should re-serve the Prescribed Information within 30 days of each renewal or the creation of a statutory periodic tenancy.

Note from Chairman DLA

All of the above seems to be an uncertain set of circumstances and there has been a great deal of scaremongering going on. No doubt issues in the Court will clarify the matter before too long and we will keep you posted as they become available. HOWEVER Do not PANIC Mr Mannerin'!!

The Lord Justice Lloyd said, following the judgement on Superstrike that common sense must prevail and most of us lay people think that is necessary, otherwise the world will become a very silly place for every landlord and that was not the intent of the court at the time. What Justice Lloyd did say was this:-

"If parties had been aware of the true nature of the legal consequences in January 2008 of the expiry of the express fixed term tenancy without the tenant either giving up possession or entering into a new express tenancy agreement, they might have had a conversation or other exchange about the deposit, in which they agreed that the landlord should continue to hold the deposit, and that it should for the future be treated as the deposit under the new tenancy, instead of under the former fixed term tenancy. That would have been the sensible alternative to the landlord paying the deposit back to the tenant .... and the tenant paying the landlord the equivalent sum under the new tenancy. In my Judgment, although there is no evidence that the parties said or did anything of that kind, and it is likely that they were not aware of the nature or incidents of the legal process that took place when the fixed term tenancy came to an end, nevertheless the position as between them should be treated in the same way as if they had had such a discussion."

In other words, if we had known about the consequences right from the start we would have behaved in a professional manner regarding them. This is not an absolute defense but the law is intended to create sensible solutions to problems, so let us hope that it is the case in these particular circumstances.

Peter Lewis
Chairman DLA


The private rented sector has seen sustained and consistent growth in recent years. A structural change from owner occupation towards renting began a decade ago, long predating the economic downturn. The sector is home to an increasingly wide range of people—from young professionals to housing benefit claimants—and a growing number of families with children. The regulation and legislation governing the sector has, however, evolved over many years, often in response to problems that arose decades ago. Only in the 1980s did the sector begin to emerge from tight rent control and the shadow of Rachmanism and begin to develop. The market is a developing one which we need to help edge its way towards maturity. This requires a careful balancing act which does not upset the market developing naturally. It therefore requires not a single step but action across a number of different areas.

First, there has to be better, simpler regulation. The Government should have a wide ranging look at the legislation covering the sector and put in place a much simpler, more straightforward regulatory framework. Once it does this, it should launch a campaign to publicise this new framework, to ensure that all tenants and landlords are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Next, we need to give councils the flexibilities they require to enforce the law and raise standards. They need the freedom to implement approaches that meet the needs of their areas. They should be: afforded more flexibility over landlord licensing; given greater ability to generate resources; and encouraged to learn from each other. Local authorities should be able to recoup housing benefit and tenants the rent paid, when landlords have been convicted of letting substandard property.

Third, there is strong evidence of sharp practice and abuses by letting agents, making a clear case for a new approach to regulation. Letting agents should be subject to the same controls as their counterparts in the sales sector. In addition, it is time to crack down on the unreasonable and opaque fees charged not only by a few rogues but by many well-known high street agents.

Next, with the sector home to an increasing number of families, we have to ensure that the market offers longer tenancies to those who need them. To do this requires a cultural change and the removal of barriers, both real and perceived. We need action to speed up eviction processes where tenants breach the tenancy agreement, tackle the objections of lenders, and encourage letting agents to explore all options with landlords and tenants with regard to longer tenancies. Alongside longer tenancies, we should find more systematic, less arbitrary approaches to setting and increasing rents. There should also be a full review of local housing allowance to bring to an end the vicious circle whereby rents and housing benefit drive each other up.

Finally, we cannot escape the need to increase supply across all tenures of housing. Doing so will provide more choice, allowing renters to select housing on the basis of quality as well as price. The Government has to ensure that the benefits of its support for build-to-let development extend to the sector as a whole. It should also revisit the recommendations of our earlier published report on the Financing of New Housing Supply, to ensure it is doing all it can to support the building of new homes.

Taken together, these measures should lead to a more mature market and a sector that better meets the needs of those who live in it. It is important that private renting is seen as an attractive alternative to owner occupation.


At the moment, landlords of tenanted properties in the UK are not obliged to install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm in a rented property, even though rented properties with gas appliances must have periodic inspections by qualified registered engineers. However if a tenant were to die or be severely injured from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, the landlord could still be subject to civil or criminal prosecution so this is one area where landlords should certainly go beyond the letter of their legal obligations.

The Health and Safety Executive strongly recommends the use of audible Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms and says, before purchasing a CO alarm, always ensure it complies with British Standard EN 50291 and carries a British or European approval mark, such as a CE or Kitemark. CO alarms should be installed, checked and serviced in line with the manufacturer's instructions. Particular attention should be given to the life span of the unit which can range from 1 to 6 years dependant on the manufacturer and the expected life span of the batteries; some have replaceable/removable units, others are sealed in for the life of the unit.

Always read the manufacturer's instructions for the correct and safe location for installation of the alarm. It is not possible to give specific guidance on the exact location of a detector/s which suits all types of premises and their usage. It should be noted that Carbon Monoxide is slightly lighter than air therefore fitting CO alarms at a low level is not recommended.(Carbon Monoxide CO = lighter than air sit up high. Carbon Dioxide Co2 heavier than air)

Where landlords provide battery operated Carbon Monoxide Detectors they can have a clause in the tenancy agreement making it clear that it is the tenant's responsibility to check their operation and replace the batteries as and when necessary, where as mains operated detectors would have to be installed and serviced annually by a qualified and registered technician.


Penalties announced for landlords who let to illegal immigrants.

The proposals are part of a consultation on the forthcoming Immigration Bill, now launched by the Minister of State for Immigration, Mark Harper.

Under the Bill, illegal immigrants would not get free NHS treatment and they would be prohibited from renting accommodation in the UK.

Harper said: "The consultation seeks views on the creation of a duty to require landlords to conduct immigration status checks on tenants before providing residential accommodation, with financial penalties for those landlords who let property to illegal migrants having failed to conduct the necessary checks.

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer of the National Landlords Association, said: "If this is to work, it is vital that the system is simple, straightforward and easy for landlords to use and understand. They can only be expected to carry out reasonable checks that someone is who they say they are, and that they have the documentation to prove they have the right to be here."

The downside to all this is that the increased cost of checking details will add an extra burden on all potential tenants and even private landlords will need to charge prospective tenants for the cost of verifying their status. I have no doubt that we all fully support measures to ensure everyone in the UK is legally allowed to be here, this proposal smacks of political posturing rather than a seriously thought through policy. It is ironic that the Government is now seeking to impose a significant extra burden on landlords, making them scapegoats for the UK Border Agency's failing


The Chambers
139 St Marychurch Road
Torquay TQ1 3HW
01803 314750
A Not for Profit Association for Landlords by Landlords