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EMPO Messenger -September 2016

Article by Giles Inman on Sep 30, 2016 View in browser

EMPO Messenger -September 2016

EMPO is hosting two great Landlord Expos next month and this provides members with an excellent opportunity to meet the EMPO team and find out about the latest developments in the East Midlands rental market.

                          

Lincolnshire & Derbyshire Landlord Expo's

                                                                

The Lincolnshire Landlord & Letting Agent Expo will be on Wednesday 19th October 2016 at The Bentley Hotel, Newark Road, Lincoln LN6 9NH.

The Derbyshire Landlord & Letting Agent Expo will be on Thursday 20th October at the Toyota Suite, iPro, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8XL.

EMPO members will be able to network with other members and benefit from the very latest rental advice and support from the region’s property professionals.

There will be plenty of advice and guidance available including how to effectively manage rented properties and most importantly, information on the very latest local regulation impacting the sector. The Expo will benefit from an array of exhibitors including local authorities and businesses specializing in providing products and services specific to the private sector landlord.

The seminar timetable topics will include recent legal and legislative developments in the private rented sector and the expected impacts of the housing policies being advocated by the political parties. The big seminar event in the afternoon is a Question & Answer session; where Expo delegates can put their questions to a panel of professional property experts.  The panel will include housing, legal and tax experts from across the Private Rented Sector.

 Free Visitor Event - Free parking-10am-4pm

 

To our new EMPO members

Mr Shah, Jackie Braker, Pav Gangotra, Paul Herbage, Mr Singh

 

Council Tax

There has been a lot of confusion about council tax liability where a tenant has left a property, but the tenancy has not been ended by notice (by either the landlord or the tenant), in particular, where the fixed term of the tenancy has passed. Councils appear to have been demanding the council tax from the landlord after the date the tenant notifies the council they have vacated, as a matter of course.

There have been a few Valuation Tribunal decisions, but now the High Court has brought some clarity. You can read about the decision here on Nearly Legal.

The liability for council tax after the tenant has vacated is as follows:

During the fixed term of a tenancy (as long as for 6 months or more) - the tenant is liable until the end of the term (unless earlier termination was agreed by the landlord).

After a six month (or longer) fixed term, where the tenancy becomes a statutory periodic tenancy automatically - the landlord will be liable for council tax after the date the tenant vacates the property. This is because the statutory periodic tenancy is classed as a new tenancy and it is not granted for a period of longer than 6 months - instead being from month to month. So the tenant is only liable for council tax when actually living at the property.

Where a tenancy agreement provides for a fixed term of at least 6 months and then the tenancy continues on a periodic basis - the tenant will be liable for the council tax until the date the tenancy is ended by notice (landlord or tenant's notice) even after the tenant has vacated. This is because the 'contractual periodic tenancy' is a continuation of the original tenancy, not a new tenancy, and so is a tenancy of more than 6 months.

That issue with contractual periodic tenancies following a fixed term is one that councils have often disputed, but Leeds council appealed the issue to the High Court and lost, so it is now settled. The judgment is Leeds City Council v Broadley [2016] EWHC 1839 (Admin). Any council trying to demand council tax from the landlord in these circumstances should be referred to that judgement.

Ashfield District Council has given the go-ahead for new selective landlord licensing to be introduced in two areas of the western Nottinghamshire district. Click HERE to read more. 

Crackdown on lettings board breaches

 Landlords are being reminded to comply with an obligation to remove ‘to let’ signs in certain parts of Nottingham – or face prosecution.

 Nottingham City Council introduced a protocol in 2012 which bans the display of lettings boards from October 1 to December 31 in large parts of in Dunkirk, Lenton, Radford and the Arboretum, covering areas around the Lenton triangle, Triumph Road and Ilkeston Road, and Lenton and Castle Boulevard.

 The aim is to reduce the impact of unsightly rows of rental signs that remain in place all year round in areas of the city where there are high concentrations of HMOs – often used by students who are away from the properties for a third of the year.

 The protocol has been a big success, with most landlords complying with it and the absence of unauthorised letting boards greatly improving the look of the main student areas of the city, and for local people living there.

 However, some are still contravening the rules and the council has written to landlords and lettings agents to warn them that repeat offenders - including offenders written to in previous years - will be prosecuted this year.

 Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, Councillor Jane Urquhart said: "We’re pleased that landlords have overwhelmingly complied with the protocol which has helped to make an enormous difference to the look and feel of many of our streets and neighbourhoods.

 “However, a small number of boards have been displayed in contravention of the rules, and we have written to offenders and taken direct steps to remove boards. We feel that limited council resources shouldn’t be used to take action more than once against the same offenders and have notified landlords and lettings agents of our intention to prosecute in such cases.

 “We hope this won’t be necessary, and that all landlords will comply with the rules for the good of the whole community

Do you have tenant’s dependant on benefits?

 The Government is imposing lower caps on household benefits. This is the next stage in their attempts to force more people into work and to ensure they are better off in work. For some families this will have a dramatic impact on their finances and they will have to make changes. If they do not, they may find it difficult to pay their rent. If you have tenant families who are not exempt you are advised to talk to them soon especially if they are inclined to put off difficult decisions. The caps will apply sometime after November 7th. DWP are writing to everyone they expect to be affected. 

 It is expected that the impact of reducing the cap from £26,000 to £20,000 will be greater than under the previous cap. Some families may be able to change their circumstances to become exempt. In the interim, if the tenant is working towards a solution, they can apply for Discretionary Housing Payments to prevent them falling into arrears. You can advise affected tenants to seek advice and support now. Increased levels of support are now available at Job Centres

 Housing benefit on two homes

EMPO has been alerted to the availability of housing benefit for a second home when a tenant is moving. A tenant offered social housing may have to commit to an offer before their notice with you expires. In these circumstances or whenever they may be required to move suddenly they can apply for benefit for the second home for up to 4 weeks. Forms are available from Housing Offices.