As of 1st February 2016, landlords now have a legal obligation when letting their property: to ensure their tenants have a ‘right to rent‘.
What is ‘right to rent’?
The government has recently introduced legislation to help make sure that tenants are legally able to rent residential property in England. This means that, before the start of every new tenancy, each individual who will be using the property as their main home will need their documents checked, and records kept, to ensure they have this right.
Landlords can be fined up to £3,000 if they fail to make these checks.
The right to rent check must be carried out in the presence of the tenant, in which time landlords are required to identify the legitimacy of the documents.
How do I know if this applies to me?
The legislation, which is covered under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014, is applicable to landlords in England. These checks will only be required if the tenancy started on, or after, the date of the implementation of the scheme; any tenancies that started before that date are exempt.
Not all landlords are required to make these checks; the only people required to do so are:
Those who have a lodger
Those who are sub-letting property
Agents appointed by private landlords to conduct the right to rent checks
What are the exceptions?
There are several types of tenancy agreements which are exempt from the scheme. These include:
Accommodation that involves local authorities
Hostels and refuges
Care homes, hospitals, hospices and continuing healthcare provision
What constitutes an acceptable form of documentation for the right to rent checks?
There are a number of documents that can be presented to the landlord to confirm the tenant’s right to rent. These can be presented as a single document, or in combination, to prove that the tenant either has an unlimited or time-limited right to rent.
As stated on the UK government’s website, ‘You can ask any agents that manage or let your property to carry out the check for you. You should have this agreement in writing.’. Selina’s Lettings are able to handle all the necessary referencing checks for £16 (ex VAT) per check. If you are a landlord in Gloucestershire who requires this service, please get in touch.
Rogue landlords in Gloucestershire should be warned by recent news of prosecutions taking place in the county – with reports of sub-standard accommodation and insufficient documentation provided to tenants.
The Gloucester City Council recently reported that a landlord, Saqib Rasul – owner of 329 Barton Street in Gloucester – was prosecuted at Cheltenham Magistrates court at the beginning of November because his property did not provide a healthy and secure environment to live in.
This follows on nicely from our last blog post on gas safety checks, and we are happy to see that the local authorities are showing a zero-tolerance attitude towards those who are not following the rules when it comes to letting out their property.
This case is not isolated though; as noted in the linked article, “Officers from the council and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service have so far carried out unannounced inspections of over 30 properties in the Barton & Tredworth and Westgate wards of Gloucester in 2015”. It turns out that most of these inspections uncovered a series of failures by landlords in the county to maintain a decent living standard for their tenants. It is alarming to hear that this is the case with so many properties, but reassuring that regular, unannounced inspections are taking place to ensure the safety of those living in these properties.
If you happen to know of any other cases which are currently unreported, you can make these known to local authorities by calling the council on 01452 396396, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to the Gloucester City Council housing team.
At Selina’s Lettings, our full property management service ensures that all tenants have a safe environment to live – with all maintenance issues brought to the attention of the landlord before any action is taken, and providing all the correct documentation to all parties.
To enquire further, please call or email us by using the details on our contact page.
The Christmas & New Year season is approaching, which means our opening hours will be temporarily adjusting to allow us all to revel in the festivities!
Here is a full breakdown of when we will be open and closed:
Wednesday 23rd December – By appointment only*
Christmas Eve By – By appointment only*
Christmas Day – CLOSED
Boxing Day – CLOSED
Monday 28th December – BANK HOLIDAY CLOSED
Tuesday 29th December to January 2nd – By appointment only*
Monday 4th January 2016 – Normal hours, 9.00am – 06.00pm
*Office Closed but the phones will be diverted to the office mobile.
As a landlord, you have many legal obligations – but one of the most important is gas safety checks.
To ensure the safety of your tenants, it is essential that you carry out these checks – using a Gas Safe registered engineer – at least once every twelve months; this applies to each individual gas appliance in the property. In the event that the tenant installs their own appliance, you are not responsible for it – however, you are for all the pipework running through the property. Once completed, you must provide a record to the existing tenant within 28 days, or to new tenants prior to moving in to the property.
Arrangements must be made with the current tenant to allow access on the appropriate date each year. If several attempts have been made to gain access to the property for gas safety checks, but the tenant has not been responsive, you must be able to show that you have taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to contact them. To ensure you are conducting yourself responsibly within the law, you can refer to this free copy of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 document.
If you are wondering if there are any exceptions, there are a number of ‘frequently asked questions’ which can be found on the government’s Health and Safety Executive website. The questions and answers cover shared ownership, subletting and the cost of a gas safety check – amongst other things.
At Selina’s Lettings, we offer a service to landlords which ensures the timely and efficient completion of gas safety checks – having been working with landlords in Gloucestershire for many years. As standard, we will provide you with annual records of maintenance and safety checks for your property, or as and when upon your request. With us, you can be safe in the knowledge that such an important responsibility is in the hands of a trusted agency.
To find out more about using our service for gas safety checks in Gloucestershire, please get in contact.
Private rented properties are to be given an extra layer of protection and safety with the introduction of new legislation which comes into effect in October 2015. These are compulsory measures, requiring all private landlords to install a sufficient number of fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors depending on a number of factors.
This is certainly nothing new – with various news sources covering the topic since its announcement earlier this year – but with the deadline so close, it is right that every opportunity should be made to ensure that all properties are fixed with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for the 8.5 million people that are renting privately in England.
This new legislation has been much-needed, and is expected to prevent 26 deaths and 670 injuries after a year of its implementation. It will now bring private rented properties in line with current legislation, which requires all newly-built properties to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.
What are private landlord required to do under these new fire & safety measures?
All properties should be fitted with a working smoke alarm on each floor of the property, which will need to be tested at the beginning of every tenancy. Not only this, but carbon monoxide alarms will be required in rooms which are considered high risk – for example, those which have a solid fuel heating system installed.
Failure to comply with the new law will result in a £5,000 civil penalty.
What does this mean for properties in Gloucestershire?
Alongside these new measures, the government have pledged to allocate funding to local authorities to provide smoke and carbon monoxide alarms free-of-charge. In relation to Gloucestershire specifically, you can contact the Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service to request your free Home Safety Check.
Any smoke alarms which are required will not be charged for.
For more information, please refer to any of the linked articles above, or for any enquiry or relating to rental properties in Gloucestershire, call Selina’s Lettings or email at email@example.com.
We were honoured to be invited to the Hollie Gazzard Winter Wonderland Ball last night! Brilliant evening and a fantastic charity! Certainly makes you appreciate people and life! Thank you Nick Gazzard and your family for a lovely evening! We thoroughly enjoyed it!
For further information about this charity and how you can take part or donate, have a look at the website:
Over the past few weeks, we have been working closely with Absolute Creative in Gloucester to put together a new website for Selina’s Lettings, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
It has a modern, stylish appearance with interactive features that allow the user to easily navigate around the website and view the available properties. If you click the ‘Properties’ header link, this will take you to a page which allows you to narrow down your property search by availability, location, property type, and budget.
We have updated the website with all available properties – click here to view them. If you would like further information on any of the properties, or if you would like to let your Gloucestershire property through Selina’s Lettings, please visit our contact page.