Tenancy Deposit !
Since April 2007 the Government has introduced a law which requires all deposits arising from new tenancy agreements to be held in a way that better protects Tenants in the event of a dispute at the end of the tenancy.
It is important that Landlords adhere to the new changes in order to comply with their legal obligations.
At Belvoir Newcastle Central we are fully trained on the new legislation and can advise on exactly what is required. We are registered with the only custodial deposit protection scheme and this offers an independent dispute resolution service.
Belvoir Newcastle Central is a firm accredited by The National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) - A Government backed accreditation scheme which offers peace of mind to Landlords & Tenants through the knowledge that the firm they are dealing with offers clearly defined levels of customer service.
NALS ensures that agents comply with defined service standards & have in place
Customer complaints procedure underpinned by an arbitration scheme
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Client Protection Cover
Access to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Worked to ensure that certain service standards are met, e.g. Property will of undergone all required safety checks on furnishings, gas & electrical services
Advise the landlord & tenant of rights and responsibilities
Advise of necessities of insurance cover for personal property & buildings
Preparation of legal documents where applicable.
The above list is only part of the NALS expectations for an approved letting agent, please feel free to call in to discuss further or visit the NALS website or phone them.
New Rental Legislation from October 1st 2008!
EPCs required from 1st October for all new tenancy agreements
Renewals of tenancy agreements and properties that are marketed before October 1st don’t require EPCs
It is the Landlord’s responsibility to commission EPCs. Why not let BELVOIR! Newcastle Central manage this for you?
Just give us a call and we'll be happy to explain what these important new changes really mean to you in a simple and clear manner.
SAFETY REGULATION GUIDELINES FOR TENANTED PROPERTIES
Furniture and Furnishing:
These regulations cover the filling material used in furniture, furnishing and re-upholstered items. It is a requirement for any furniture and furnishings supplied in a property let for the first time since 1st March 1993 to meet current standards AND to carry the appropriate, permanently affixed label.
Furniture manufactured prior to 1950 is exempt from the regulations on the basis that combustible materials were not in use prior to that date. As a general guide only, it is considered that most items purchased after 1st March 1990 from a reputable company will comply. However, this does not necessarily take into account furnishings manufactured in some countries overseas and the only absolute safeguard is where there is the original and correct label attached to the item.
The regulations apply to furniture which is in a residential property and includes sofas, settees, seat pads, beds, headboards, pillows, armchairs, scatter cushions, futons, mattresses and bean bags etc. They exclude items such as carpets and curtains.
Sprays offering fire resistance do not circumvent the regulations.
If you ask us to manage your property, you must remove any furniture which does not comply before a tenancy begins. You cannot store non-compliant furniture at the property, either in a locked room, garage, attic or the like. Any replacement furniture you place in the property must comply with the regulations.
For the latest information and guidance you are advised to seek the assistance of your local Trading Standards Officer or obtain a copy of the regulations in full through Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
These regulations came into force in October 1994. They impose requirements on Landlords in relation to the supply of gas and gas appliances in a property which is let.
In general terms the relevant regulations that effect you, as Landlord, include:
There must be sufficient air supply available for proper combustion of the appliance
There must be adequate facilities for removal of products of combustion
There must be adequate ventilation to enable any appliance to be safely used
All appliances must be safe to use and must eliminate any risk of escaping gas
If you have any reason at any time to suspect that there is a gas escape at your let property you must immediately take all reasonable steps to ensure that the gas supply is shut off.
These regulations apply to all gas appliances at the property including any gas central heating system, fires, cookers, refrigerators, etc which use mains, propane or calor gas.
In a let property, each gas appliance must be checked for safety every twelve months, or sooner if a problem is noted, by an approved CORGI registered tradesman. If a fault is found, continued use of that appliance is an offence. If no remedial work is carried out, the tradesman is required to inform British Gas who will use their statutory powers to switch off the appliance. Before any tenancy begins you must provide us with a current and full inspection certificate for each gas appliance at the property.
If you have not had any of your gas appliances at the property checked with the past twelve months, you must have it done before any tenancy commences. We will arrange this on your behalf if you so instruct. Annual inspections will then be necessary and we will ensure that these are carried out during the time we manage the property on your behalf.
Tenants entering into a tenancy have a right to see the appropriate certificate of safety.
There are heavy penalties imposed on Landlords who do not comply with these regulations, including a fine of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment.
There are many regulations covering this aspect of safety at tenanted properties and this has caused confusion for many Landlords in deciding how they are affected. Increasingly, however, Trading Standards Officers are bringing Landlords to Court for not only non-compliance with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations and Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations in general, but more often with specific regard to the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
As with all consumer legislation, the critical test is whether a supply is made, and if a property is rented out, then there can be no question that a supply is being effected. Whilst it is accepted that there is no single specification of requirement across the spectrum of legislation, the basic principle on which any case will be assessed is that every electrical item supplied at a tenanted property, including the electrical wiring, must be proven to be safe, within the advised terms of certificate validity.
To achieve the above, it is therefore incumbent on the Landlord to have every appropriate item checked by an acceptably qualified engineer who will then provide a full safety certificate. An appropriately qualified engineer is accepted as being one currently registered with NICEIC. Outside this qualification, the Landlord cannot be certain that the certificate is valid protection under the regulations.
For electrical appliances at a property, annual renewal of certification of safety is required. However, it is suggested that, in addition, these items, together with plugs, fuses, leads and sockets, are at least visually inspected for interference or fault at every property inspection and particularly at every change of tenancy.
Such appliances may range from portable appliances such as kettles, toasters, etc to fixed appliances such as cookers, showers, immersion heaters, central heating boilers and so on.
In respect of electrical wiring, the accepted term for these certificates is 4 to 5 years although, this again is qualified by the need to note and react appropriately to any interim suggestion that there may a fault – light bulbs consistently blowing, trip switches activating etc.
For new build properties, those which hold NHBC certification can be accepted for the same period of 4-5 years, at which point an electrical safety certificate should be arranged. If no NHBC certificate is in place, an electrical safety test is needed unless the electrician or firm who carried out the installation is appropriately qualified and able to provide a full certificate.
More recent regulation, called Part P Regulation, now governs works carried out at a property. These requirements range from ensuring that an appropriately qualified (NICEIC) engineer carries out the required works to having to apply, before any work commences, for authority and management of the works through your appropriate Local Authority department.
Failure to comply with these regulations may constitute a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which carries a maximum penalty on summary conviction of a £5,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment. Trading Standards also reserve the right to prosecute the Landlord, their agent, or both.
Landlords and/or agents may also be liable in civil law under their statutory DUTY OF CARE for failure to ensure their tenants’ safety and to face punitive damages.
These matters must be taken seriously and Landlords, and their agents, must comply. We at BELVOIR have the knowledge and the systems to assist our Landlords by assessing for them the necessary requirements and by removing from them the burden of arranging, tracking, managing and record keeping of all these tasks.
Should you need any further information regarding any of the above then Contact us by visiting our shop at 214/216 Chillingham Road, Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne
or phone 0191 265 6759