Midnight Caller

19 04 2010

One of the benefits of our Full Management service was brought home to me over the weekend. I was at the Manchester Shine event for Cancer Research, walking 26 miles overnight for charity. At about half past midnight my mobile phone rang. It was a very friendly man from the Stoke-on-Trent City Council Out of Hours emergency team. A property of ours, based in a council managed block, had developed a water leak which was causing water to spill into a communal light fitting on the floor below. The call was to say that there was an imminent danger that this leak would impact the power supply for the entire block and cause our Landlord to be liable for a claim for damages from the council that could run to hundreds of pounds.

The council had an engineer on site but needed permission to effect the repair as the fault was on a private property. Without my permission the engineer would not have been able to fix the leak and the problem would have worsened to the point where the bill would be far higher. So, our having an Out of Hours number (and a willing volunteer to answer it!) has ultimately saved the landlord a lot of money. I could arguably have called our normal contractor out but this would have doubled the cost and caused a potentially disastrous delay.

It was a small incident and one that was cleared up pretty easily but shows the benefit of being contactable at all times. And of course I have one more story to tell the next time someone asks me the benefit of going Fully Managed!

I should also say that I got a few puzzled looks from fellow walkers when it became obvious that I was working at almost one in the morning in the midst of 7,000 charity fundraisers!

The Housing Act Rent Threshold Increase

25 03 2010

You may or may not know this, but the rent threshold for the housing act will be increased in October this year. (Please note that this legislative change does not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland)

It is not 100% clear how this is going to be instated yet, or how it will affect existing contracts, but here is what we understand about it at present.

The Government have announced that the Rent Threshold Limit will be raised to £100,000 per annum as from 1st October 2010. What this means is that the tenancy agreement used for any rent below a monthly figure of £8333.33 will be the assured shorthold (AST). By introducing this measure the government envisage that more tenants will have their rights strengthened and protected by legislation. Any rent over £100,000 will be subject to the normal contractual tenancy practices.

For reasons not fully explained by the Government the rise will apply retrospectively but the full legislation has not been published so this phrase may be misleading. What is likely to happen is that existing contractual tenancies up to £100,000 per annum will become ASTs from the date of the legal change.

There are 2 main consequences arising from this legislation – the deposit and notices.

1. The deposit

Tenancies that fall into the Act from changeover date are likely to need their deposits protected immediately and the necessary prescribed information issued.

Commentators are divided on possible problems arising from this as it could be argued that all tenancies falling into the tenancy deposit regime after 1st October 2010 will automatically be in breach of the requirements to protect deposits as they will have had their deposits placed into protection more than 14 days after they were received. However, we did not have to protect existing deposits when TDS legislation first came in but it was required for renewals and it is uncertain how the law will adjudicate on this matter. Certainly courts have given short shrift to the argument that ASTs existing prior to the introduction should have had their deposits protected at that stage.

Potentially, the various tenancy deposit protection schemes will face a sudden rise in the number of tenancies being registered with them and, presumably, in the number of disputes they have to resolve. Those disputes will, naturally, be for greater sums of money and will inevitably be more complex. This may prove hard for schemes to deal with under their current financial and business constraints.

2. Notices

The procedure for evicting tenants will be the procedure laid out in the Housing Act 1988, so you will need to serve a section 21 or section 8 notice rather than a notice to quit.

However there may be a problem with tenancies which are due to end less than two months after 1st October 2010.

Agents/Landlords will not be able to serve valid section 21 notices giving the statutory minimum two months notice to end the tenancy after the date to bring such tenancies to an end at the end of their fixed terms. It is not clear if a notice served before changeover would be valid for the purposes of section 21 and it could only be so if the deposit had already been protected prior to service.

Sorry this is not the most interesting post, but I thought it was worth mentioning, as this may be an important change for some landlords. In my next post I’m going to do some Q and A on some common legal questions that we get asked, this should be pretty helpful for a lot of people.

Welcome to The Belvoir-Stoke Blog

25 03 2010

Hello. Welcome to our blog. My name is Mark, I am currently working for Belvoir in Stoke On Trent. Belvoir is a letting agent, we help property owners to find tenants for their properties. And we help tenants to find properties which they can be proud to call their homes.

The point of this blog is to provide a helpful resource, whether you are looking for a new home, or considering letting out your home when you move… What ever your landlord / tenant related issues we can help.

Their will be plenty of helpful advice posts coming up in the future, but in the mean time, if you have any questions about tenancy, or about becoming a landlord or you’re just curious about what we do, leave me a comment and I will try to get back to you within 48 hours.

You can also email us here at Belvoir stoke. Our email address is Stoke-On-Trent@BelvoirLettings.com