In this issue we update you with regulatory changes and review the 22-23 letting period and year ahead.
Selective Licensing Scheme launched in Leicester
On Monday 10th October, the new Selective Licensing Scheme came into force in Leicester. This is a very significant change in licensing control within the city and for the first time, properties that wouldn’t usually need a licence such as a 2-bed property or those rented to a family, may need one if they are located within designated areas around the city.
Last week, Sulets attended the regional East Midlands Property Owners (EMPO) group in Leicester where representatives of the Council updated us on the launch of the scheme and their plans for inspections. It is fair to say that the event was quite lively! One important comment that the Council did make at the meeting was that they would not be imposing any enforcement action on landlords who do not join the scheme for 18 months. This looks generous and it would be easy to think that joining the scheme for 18 months was almost optional. However, as the EMPO presenter, Giles Inman, pointed out, landlords without a licence can be subject to a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) for not possessing a licence. For those that don’t know, tenants can apply for a RRO where, amongst other things, a valid licence is not in place. So you could end up at a bizarre situation where the Council will not enforce action for 18 months but the Courts can and will force you to hand back rent to your tenants.
Details of this bizarre anomaly can be found here: www.landlordzone.co.uk/news/dont-be-fooled-by-schemes-generous-time-frame-landlords-warned/
For a further example of just how serious a RRO can be, read here: propertyindustryeye.com/student-renters-urged-to-check-licensing-status-of-their-homes-after-management-firm-forced-to-repay-staggering-sum-of-money/
What should landlords do?
The first thing to do is to check and see if your property is affected. This can be done by checking the LCC website. Enter the map section of the site and type in the property address. If the property is in a blue section of the map, you will need a licence. www.leicester.gov.uk/your-community/housing/landlords/selective-licensing/
Sulets would strongly advise that landlords apply for licence now as whilst the risk of a RRO may seem small, the impact can be huge. In addition, there is a 10% discount on the application if it is made in the first 6 months and further discounts for multiple properties and memberships of an accreditation scheme.
Overview of 22-23 sales year & 23-24 lettings launch
The most recent letting season proved once again to be challenging in Leicester with difficult market forces, notably the decline in DMU student numbers and the drop down university league table rankings having an impact on sales performance. That said, Sulets have still managed to let all our student housing for the academic year ahead. A recent independent article highlights some of the Leicester market challenges and confirms Sulets’ position as the market leader.
Students are back on campus and the 23-24 letting year is fast approaching. We have already begun to offer your property to current tenants with ‘VIP Access’ to rebook before our student housing portfolio goes live to the market on Mon 24th October. Our sales team will be proactively working with all leads to let your property as soon as we can for the next academic year.
Carbon Monoxoide Regulations
You may remember from our summer newsletter in August, that there has been an amendment to the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations which came into force in October 2015.
By 1st October 2022, a carbon monoxide alarm needs to be installed in any room used as living accommodation which contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
This is a change that applies to your property/properties. You should not have gas/electric fires or open fires in your property, but the majority will have a boiler for heating and hot water. A carbon monoxide detector will be a requirement in the room where the boiler is.
Sulets can arrange this for you and supply and fit a battery powered, ‘sealed for life’ unit, which lasts 7 years. Please get in touch if you would like us to arrange this for you.
If you prefer to do this yourself, please send confirmation of the type of alarm you have fitted, plus a photo of it in situ, so that we can update our records. We must have these as proof of compliance.
If we have not had confirmation from you that this has been fitted, with a photo of the alarm in situ by Tuesday 18th October 2022, Sulets will instruct the works and deduct the cost from your landlord float.
Please be aware that if you do not have the detector in place , the local authority could impose a fine of up to £5,000.