During these difficult times where we are preoccupied with news about the outbreak, it is easy to overlook the importance of continuing property maintenance, including date sensitive tasks such as annual gas safety certificates.
Government guidance states that maintenance issues must still be addressed wherever possible when reported by tenants. If a tenant is self-isolating or shielding, then care must be taken when arranging for works to be carried out. Should the tenant feel that this may put them at risk, then this must be respected, and works should be postponed.
Care must be taken to keep accurate records of communications with tenants, most importantly for date sensitive tasks which have legal implications on the landlord. These records should show the attempts that have been made to arrange the works, the reason the tenant has refused access and the agreed date that you will follow this up with the tenant.Lear More
As you may recall the government introduced this legislation back in 2018. It introduced minimum energy efficiency levels for rented properties in England and Wales. Any property rented to new tenants from April 2018 to April 2020 must have had a minimum energy efficiency rating of at least an “E”.
If a property had an energy efficiency rating of “F” or “G” which had an existing tenancy, the landlord had until today (1st April 2020) to bring it up to the minimum energy efficiency rating of E.
A copy of each property’s EPC can be found on the central EPC register.
Exemptions are available which need to be regularly assessed as their expiry date varies depending on the exemption applied for. In certain circumstances, it is more cost effective to improve a property’s energy efficiency rating by carrying out the recommended works than it is to apply for an exemption.Lear More
We have been monitoring carefully the development and media surrounding the spread of the Covid-19 virus. To protect our landlords, tenants, contractors and team members we would like to make the following statement.
1. For now all property visits have been cancelled.
2. Upon reporting a maintenance issue, before we appoint a contractor, all tenants will be asked the following:
- whether they have travelled overseas since the start of 2020
- whether they have any symptoms of Covid-19
- whether they have been in contact with anyone with the symptoms of Covid-19
- whether they have been advised to self-isolate
If any of these scenarios apply, the contractor appointment will be postponed.
3. We are circulating information relating to Covid-19 to all parties to distribute information and help prevent the spread of the virus.
4. We have taken the decision to close our office and are working remotely. We are however still available as usual to contact on the telephone and via email. If you need to reach us, you can still do so but please bear with us if there are some technical issues in the transition.
5. Should members of our team need to self-isolate, they will be able to do so with our full support and financial backing.
6. The safety and health of both our team and those we meet is paramount therefore we will do all we can as a business to ensure our actions minimise the impact of Covid-19 on all our clients. For guidance on the symptoms of COVID-19, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have COVID-19 please visit the NHS website using the following link https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
The contractors we work alongside are attending to maintenance issues as normal as far as possible although priority is being given to emergencies. If day to day issues can be dealt with, we will arrange these but please bear with us in the event of any delays. Even in the case of an emergency, the situation is being vetted on a case by case basis by contractors upon arrival on site. If they feel there is a risk of infection and cannot carry out works, they have our full support and backing in making their decision. Should any of the contractors need to self-isolate, will use our best endeavours to delay non emergency works but will seek alternative contractors as and when possible.
Should the situation deteriorate, the above will be re-evaluated.Lear More
The Government have recently announced that from 1st January 2021, a points-based system will be introduced for individuals moving go the UK. The points-based system will require all applicants to prove that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level and that they can speak English. This is for all applicants irrespective of whether they are EU or non-EU citizens. Applicants also need to reach a minimum salary threshold. If they do not, they may still be eligible if they can demonstrate that they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation or that they have a PhD relevant to the job.
EU citizens living in the UK by 31st December 2020 are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and will have until 30th June 2021 to make an application.
At the current time there has been no change in Right to Rent legislation and checks on all occupiers of a property aged 18 or over remain.Lear More
Moving into 2020 not only marks a new year and a new decade but also Green Door’s second birthday! It seems like a lot longer than 2 years since we opened our doors! We have come a long way since we started and have some amazing plans in the pipeline which we can’t wait to come to fruition!
This is in addition to us maintaining our usual high level of customer service for our landlords, tenants and partner agents and keeping up to date with the changes and updates in legislation which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be abating at all. The end of the transition period under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 is approaching, the Renters Reform Bill is proposed and mandatory 5 year electrical safety check regulations to name but a few.
As an ARLA Propertymark regulated agent, we adhere to regulations which are higher than the industry standard. We receive regular updates on changes to regulations and attend regular training courses so you know you are in safe hands when you are a client of Green Door.Lear More
The Government have proposed to introduce the Renters’ Reform Bill. The aim is to improve the experience of those living in the private rented sector and the main points highlighted so far are:
- Introduction of a lifetime deposit – it is proposed that tenants be able to pay one deposit which is then transferred from property to property if the tenants move.
- Passporting system – this is to tie in with the lifetime deposit to ensure protection is given to landlords who need to claim against a tenants’ deposit and the new landlord whose property the tenants are due to move into.
- Abolition of section 21 notice – this is something that was proposed last year and has reared its ugly head again! The proposal is to abolish so called “no fault” evictions and reform the grounds for possession.
As more information is released about the Renters’ Reform Bill, Green Door will publish this on our news page and social media.Lear More
Making sure your property is ready for winter means you’ll be able to keep the warmth in, save money and protect your home too. When the autumn months roll by, make sure you prepare for the colder months with this helpful checklist.
You can do some simple checks to make sure your heating is ready for winter. This includes radiators and fireplaces.
- Check the pilot light for your boiler is on.
- Your gas safety certificate should be valid and updated annually. Make sure to check with your Property Manager if the certificate has expired.
- Fireplaces and chimneys should have been cleaned before you moved in. But if you are resident for an extended period of time, please check if they are clean and clear.
- Check radiators are working correctly. If you need to bleed radiators you can either do this yourself or request a professional to do it for you.
Keeping the water flowing is even more important in the winter months. These quick checks will make sure you’re ready.
- Make sure pipes are insulated, especially pipes in the loft or outside the premises
- Check the stopcock is working
- Make sure pipes are clear
Your insulation needs to be efficient to enable you to keep the heat in. Inefficient insulation means lost heat and lost money.
- Check draught proof covers around letterboxes and keyholes
- Check door and window frames for damage and arrange repair if necessary
Gardens and outside areas
In the winter months, your garden or outside area tends to become neglected. To minimise damage to the property, the garden and the equipment, you should:
- Trim bushes and prune trees
- Rake up any fallen leaves
- If you want to plant shrubs and trees, autumn is the ideal time to do so
- Put away any equipment or outside furniture
The autumn months are a good opportunity to check the property before the wet or cold weather sets in.
- Check for peeling paint, which can be a sign of moisture penetrating the building
- Check pipes, drains and guttering to make sure they’re clear and properly affixed
- Autumn is a good time to clean windows, once again you might need to hire someone to do this
- Make sure vents are not obstructed
- Check exterior lights are working correctly
The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations came into effect in April 2018. It set a minimum energy efficiency level for private rented properties in England and Wales. Properties in England and Wales must be rated “E” or higher to be privately let and those with ratings “F” and “G” must be brought up to standard before the deadline. This rating is found on a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) can only be issued by a qualified Domestic Energy Assessor and each certificate is logged and accessible on a national register. They last for 10 years and the same certificate can be used for multiple tenancies with different tenants.
If a property does not meet the minimum standard of an E rating, it must not be let to a new tenant after 1 April 2018 until it is reassessed with an E or higher rating. If the tenancy period has already begun but it started before 1 April 2018, the landlord must improve the property rating to E or higher by 1 April 2020.
An “A” rating indicates that a property achieved the highest level of energy efficiency, and a “G” rating signifies the lowest level of energy efficiency. Apart from a rating, a certificate also shows a building’s carbon dioxide emissions, which can be affected by a building’s walls, flooring, roof insulation, boilers and more. These are all factors an assessor will look at when assessing the EPC rating of a property. Note that if your property has an EPC done within 10 years, but a newer EPC was done more recently, the rating on the more recent EPC prevails.
There are exemptions to the MEES rules, but they have to be regularly assessed, and they expire after 6 months or 5 years, depending on which exemption is applied for. You would however need a valid EPC to apply for an exemption. In some cases, surveyors or architects may need to be hired and it is usually more cost-effective to improve a property’s energy efficiency rating than to apply for an exemption.Lear More
As the summer draws to an end and August is upon us, it is a good time to highlight how important it is for landlords to carry out regular maintenance on their property. Typical maintenance issues reported to us around this time of year are boiler issues, blocked guttering and fences being blown down. Tenants will start firing up the central heating so boiler services are essential to ensure it is working and avoid any emergency call outs when the weather gets really cold. Gutter clearance is something a lot of people don’t think about but again is essential. Any build up of moss or debris can cause a blockage in the guttering which could lead to the water overflowing and running down the side of the property. This could potentially then cause damage and/or damp in the property resulting in a large remedial bill. Making sure fences are sturdy and secure is also a must ready for any high winds that may befall the country! Again, this could avoid a hefty bill for any landlord if it gets blown down and causes damage to a neighbour’s property. Proactive property maintenance is always better (and usually cheaper) than reactive property maintenance!Lear More
Updated guidance has been released regarding Right to Rent checks for individuals from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA – also known as B5JSSK countries. Since 20th May 2019 individuals from these countries have been able to enter the UK using “eGates”. This means that these individuals may not have a stamp in their passport or visa confirming their length of stay and associated conditions. These individuals are receiving this information verbally from border control staff upon using the “eGate”.
This can mean that any individual from one of these countries may not have a stamp in their passport or visa but is automatically granted leave to enter the UK for a period of 6 months. They also have the Right to Rent a property for the duration of their lawful stay. However their passport will not be endorsed to show their date of entry and their documentation may not satisfy the current Right to Rent criteria. Therefore some additional documentation will need to be requested.
Additional supporting acceptable evidence of entry to the UK may include one or more of the following:
- An original or copy of a boarding pass or electronic boarding pass for air, rail or sea travel to the UK, establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months;
- An original or copy airline, rail or boat ticket or e-ticket establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months;
- Any type of booking confirmation (original or copy) for air, rail or sea travel to the UK establishing the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months;
- Any other documentary evidence which establishes the date of arrival in the UK in the last six months.
The minimum period for a time limited check is 12 months and agents can only schedule a follow up check prior to the end of the 12 month period. This is despite knowing that the tenant initially had leave to remain for only 6 months. In most cases, the tenant will have either left the property or applied for a further period to remain in the UK. If agents are challenged on this, evidence of a correctly administered 12 month check will provide a solid basis for a statutory excuse against civil penalty.
Further helpful information and guidance can be found on the gov.uk website.Lear More