On Saturday 24th October, we were delighted to exhibit at the region’s largest landlord and property show. We were on hand to offer advice and information for anyone involved in the rental market. For those of you who could not make it – fear not! We have put together a summary of the key issues and discussions from the day.
The event provided a fantastic opportunity for me to speak to a number of first-time landlords. It was evident from the majority of new landlords I spoke with that they had real concerns surrounding the recent changes to legislation and ensuring that they have complied with all of the obligations when entering into an agreement. Ensuring that they haven’t overlooked anything was certainly top of their agenda!
So, to quickly re-cap on the requirements; from 1st October 2015, landlords need to serve tenants with the following:-
1. Tenancy Agreement
2. Protect the deposit and provide copies of the Prescribed Information from the Deposit Scheme within 30 days
3. An Energy Performance Certificate
4. A Gas Safety Certificate
5. The Government Booklet “How to Rent”
For the more experienced landlords, or those with a property portfolio, the hot topic of the day appeared to be the Landlord Licensing scheme which is now in place throughout Liverpool and in some areas on the Wirral.
From the landlords I engaged with on the day, there were frustrations regarding the the scheme. It became apparent from the discussions that the requirement to obtain and pay for such a licence in Liverpool could in many ways become a deterrent for those considering investing in property in Liverpool, instead they spoke of areas such as St. Helens and Warrington. Others who already own property in the city confirmed that ultimately they will need to reflect the increase in fees in the rent they charge.
The general consensus of people I spoke with on the day is that the majority i.e. the good landlords are having to pay for the mistakes and corruption of the minority i.e. bad and the ugly.
I was keen to catch up with members of the Landlord Licensing Enforcement Team at Liverpool City Council at the exhibition. They confirmed that, whilst indeed applications are still being processed (and this will take some time) enforcement work has already begun. I asked whether landlords would be penalised if they make a late application (the deadline was 1st April 2015). They confirmed that at the moment they would NOT sanction a landlord who makes a late application.
I suspect this attitude won’t last for very much longer, so the message is - if you haven’t yet got a licence in place, do this immediately and you will hopefully avoid sanctions! Details on how to apply for a licence can be found here:- http://liverpool.gov.uk/business/private-landlords/licences-and-standards/landlord-licensing/landlord-licensing-scheme-form