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EMPO Messenger-December 2016

Article by Giles Inman on Dec 19, 2016 View in browser

EMPO Messenger-December 2016

EMPO’s tenancy agreements have been updated to include the following clause to help ensure compliance to the Immigration Act 2014

The Team at EMPO wish all our members a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to working and representing you all in 2017.

 

 
To the following members who joined EMPO in November

Jo Tsourou, Mrs Farah Moghal, Paul Tordoff, Lionel Virdee, Adam Lawrence, Mrs Paechter, Owen Fulton

Accessing a Property

The Property Ombudsman has recently issued new guidance for Letting Agents obtaining consent from a tenant to enter a property.

“Access to a property may be required by the agent, or an authorised third party on behalf of the landlord (e.g. a surveyor, builder, tradesman etc.) for the purpose of viewing the condition, state of repair and/or to fulfil related statutory obligations and/or to carry out repairs. If your agency business holds the key but are not able to accompany that person, the tenant must be given the appropriate minimum notice of 24 hours of the appointment (unless agreed otherwise with the tenant beforehand), except in cases of genuine emergency. Therefore, an agent must provide written confirmation of their request to access the property to the tenant.”

 Within that written request, the tenant must be asked for their confirmation of whether or not access is acceptable.

Where a tenant does not respond to an access request and the tenant has been provided with the opportunity to respond, the agent is entitled to make the assumption that access is permitted. However, the tenant must be given the opportunity to refuse access, if they so wish. It therefore follows that express consent should, rather than must be obtained.

To view the latest versions of all the Codes, please click HERE

Immigration Act 2016

As a reminder to all, as announced last month, from 1 December 2016 landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe they are letting to an illegal immigrant. Also landlords can end a tenancy for occupants that do not have the right to rent.

This means that:

  • It is now easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants.
  • It is now a crime to knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.

These measures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to tackle illegal immigration, and its determination to take the necessary steps to protect public services and access to the private rented sector for our lawful residents.

EMPO’s tenancy agreements have been updated to include the following clause to help ensure compliance to the Immigration Act 2014. Please request the updated version of the EMPO tenancy agreement with all new tenancies.

                4.4.13 Ensure that all adult occupiers of the Property maintain a “Right to Rent” as defined by the Immigration Act 2014 at all times during the Term.

 The regulations are available HERE

The extension to Mandatory HMO licensing consultation.

EMPO has recently submitted their response to Governments recent consultation to extend HMO licensing to all rented properties which house 5 or more tenants. An important feature to our response included the following content:

“Time and time again, with government inspired housing legislation we continue to have confusion and a landscape of lost opportunity. You would have thought with clarity and proposed regulation on bedroom sizes and the storage and disposal of waste government would want to impose the same principles on HMO license fees. Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case, government wants to continue allowing local authorities to charge landlords whatever they want for HMO licensing. So under these measures we will continue to have an arena of suspicion where landlords will believe the true cost of running local schemes do not match the extortionate fees charged. For example in the East Midlands we have Leicester and Lincoln City charging £463.00 and £500.00 respectively for a HMO licence under mandatory licensing, while Nottingham charges £980.00. This type of dubious fee charging continues to frustrate the engagement and trust between good landlords and councils.” 

Government announces new banning orders to stop criminal landlords

Plans to ban criminal landlords and property agents from operating have been set out by the government over the last few days.

The banning orders would be put in place when serious offences are committed against tenants. A consultation paper is now live and is seeking views on which offences should be subject to the orders, these are likely to include the failure to carry out work required by the council, failing to ensure the health and safety of tenants and threatening tenants with violence.

Any landlord or property agent who is subject to a banning order may be prevented from letting or managing a property indefinitely, with their name also included in a national database of offenders.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell said: “Banning orders will allow us to drive out the worst offenders and help make sure millions of hard-working private tenants across the country are protected from exploitation.

“While the vast majority of landlords are responsible we are determined to tackle the minority who abuse and exploit vulnerable people.”

The proposals form part of the government’s commitment to improving standards within the private rented sector with the aim of helping local authorities take action against rogues who knowingly rent out substandard accommodation. 

The banning orders will force offenders either to drastically improve the standard of the accommodation they rent out or to leave the sector entirely, with a minimum ban lasting 12 months and maximum bans being unlimited.

Offenders may also find themselves unable to rent or work in the housing sector with a management order giving the local authority responsibility for renting their property instead.

The banning orders follow a range of measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to tackle rogue landlords, including the extension of Rent Repayment Orders and civil penalties up to £30,000.

The online consultation period will run until 10 February 2017. To take part, click here.