The first term for university students in Leicester is starting to wind down for the Christmas & new year break. In this issue we will update you on recent news from Sulets.
Insurers refuse claim for unoccupied property
Recently we had a landlord whose property suffered significant damage to the kitchen as a result of a water leak. The damage occurred after the tenancy had ended so the building was empty, and the issue went unchecked for a considerable period.
The damage required the complete replacement of the kitchen including all appliances and flooring and the total cost was just over £10,000. A new tenancy was due to start in September, so a claim was lodged with the insurers and the work to reinstate the kitchen was quickly started and the new tenants moved into a house with a brand-new kitchen.
However, the insurers subsequently rejected the claim as they said that the property had been left unoccupied for more than 30 days. This is a common term in residential property insurance and as is often the case with insurers, if they can find a reason to decline a claim, they will.
The fact is that nearly all student tenancies will have a period at the end of each year when the property is unoccupied either because the tenancy has ended or alternatively, the tenants have returned home for the summer. Sulets would urge all our landlords to think carefully how many times that your property may be left unoccupied and consider if your insurance will cover you in the event of a claim and to seek additional insurance if there is a risk that you may not be adequately covered.
Major new licensing scheme planned for Leicester
Sulets landlords will be aware that in our last landlord newsletter we wrote advising that there is a consultation currently being run by Leicester City Council (LCC) to impose further Article 4 restrictions on additional areas of the city. If approved, this will stop further creation of HMO properties in those areas irrespective of whether the proposed property needs a licence or not.
We can now reveal that following a meeting of the Overview Select Committee on the 10th November 2021, the Council have approved holding a consultation on extended licencing to ALL rented properties in specific areas of the city. This is known as Selective Licencing. With Selective Licensing, the Council can extend licensing to up to 20% of the city or, this can be city wide with permission from the Secretary of State. The current mandatory licencing regime only applies to HMOs with over 5 tenants who do not form a family. The new scheme would apply to any property irrespective of how big it is or who it was rented to. It would apply equally to a 2-bed house with a small family or a house with 4 students. There will be a proposed charge of £1000 for a licence which will last for 5 years. Clearly, this is a massive change and will impact all landlords in the areas affected.
It should be noted that at this stage, this is a policy paper, but the policy has been passed and the timeline for this to go to public consultation starts in 2022.
We include a link below to the policy document and there is also a recording of the council meeting. We would strongly encourage all landlords to read this and keep an eye out for the start of the consultation.
Policy doc – cabinet.leicester.gov.uk/documents/s125997/LandlordLicensingFINALVERSION011121%20v2.pdf
Link to meeting – cabinet.leicester.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=654&MID=11181#AI98056
Lottie will soon be leaving to start her maternity leave in January. During this time Ruta will be covering her role as a Senior Property Management Officer. We also have a new Property Management Officer (Georgia) who will be in post from January. If you have any queries just get in touch with your usual contact and we will be able to assist you.
Landlord referral offer is still available – £100 cash per referral
If you know someone who could benefit from the Sulets service, then please let us know. The more landlords like you that we have on board, the more students we can help and the more successful we will all be. If you are able to recommend someone to us then to say thank you for your help, if the person, or persons, that you recommend sign up to Sulets we will give you a gift of £100 for every property that they list and go on to successfully let through Sulets. Please contact Emma Godsell or Jake Lewis, or your Sulets Property Manager and they will take care of the rest.
Christmas office closure
The Sulets lettings shop & offices will be closed for the Christmas period from 2pm on Tuesday 21st December 2021 and will re-open at 9am on Wednesday 5th January 2022.
We would like to wish all landlords a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you for your support throughout this year, we look forward to working with you all in 2022 and beyond!