News

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

New government legislation to take effect on the 1st July 2020 states that landlords must ensure every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified person. The Regulations also state that a landlord is required to obtain a report of the results of the inspection and test, supply it to each tenant within 28 days and retain a copy until the next inspection is due.

From the 1st July 2020 the rule applies only to new tenancies and states that landlord must supply a tenant with a satisfactory EICR report prior to the commencement of the tenancy.

Going forward then from the 1st April 2021 the legislation will be extended and apply to all existing tenancies with landlord having to supply any current tenancy , let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) with a copy of a satisfactory EICR report.

Maintaining the safety of a tenants home environment is vital and the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) is the best way of monitoring the electrics within the property. Until now the testing of the fixed wiring within a property has been a very grey area with landlords having a duty of care to ensure what they provide is safe, but no requirement to prove it. Whilst this may sound daunting to some landlords it is our opinion this type of regulation is over due and removes the uncertainty faced by landlords and indeed us as agents on whether an installation is safe.

Having a trusted and loyal band of contractors with whom we have worked with for many years means we are able to arrange the checks at a reduced price and with minimal disruption to our tenants.
We will be in contact with all our landlords at the appropriate time although if anyone has any questions in relation to the upcoming changes please do not hesitate to contact us.

Category : News

Its Business as usual in the “New Normal”

GREAT NEWS!!! Following the announcement by Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, we are now looking to get back to providing our full range of services. We will however be doing things slightly differently to maintain the requirement for social distancing and to keep our staff, clients and the wider public safe. For the foreseeable future our office will be open on an appointment only basis and will be closed to the public. To protect our staff we will also be offering slightly reduced hours 10am – 4pm – Monday to Friday. Rest assured however it will be staffed as necessary by either Lee or Marie. Where we are able to maintain social distancing, and when it is safe to do so, we will be doing market appraisals, viewings on properties to let and also carrying out routine inspections.

Whilst during the lockdown period we have been able to handle all the core management service without any interruption to our clients there is considerable pent up demand for lettings and we will now be busy converting this into successful lettings for our landlords. We also anticipate the lettings market will get stronger than ever in the coming months as the inevitable economic uncertainty rising out of the COVID19 pandemic will no doubt have people concentrating more on the short term.

We will of course continue monitoring the situation closely to ensure we adhere to the guidelines at all times. Emails are being handled in the usual way although of course if you have any questions please contact the office number – 01535980060.

Full details of all or properties can be found on our property page or alternatively at www.onthemarket.com

Stay alert, Stay safe and Best Regards from all at Hayfield Robinson.

Category : News

COVID19 – Update – 30 April 2020

There have been no further announcements from the Government affecting the Private Rented Rector (PRS) during April so in relation to the COVID19 pandemic things still remain the same as we reported last month. As yet we have had no indication of when we will be able to open our doors or any guidance on how we will be expected to implement social distancing going forward. . The whole team is desperately keen to get back to work once the letting market wakes up again and judging by the amount of enquiries we have been receiving anticipate we should get back to the busy normal very soon. We will of course continue monitoring the situation closely and once the restrictions are relaxed we will be ensuring we adhere to government guidelines at all times. Watch this space for further updates.

Category : News

COVID-19

Due to government advice on COVID-19 our Keighley office is now closed to the public until further notice however rest assured ALL OF OUR SERVICES ARE STILL OPERATIONAL. Our staff are still handing all rental payments, landlord statements and urgent property repairs however please note property viewings, routine inspections and non essential repairs have been suspended for the foreseeable future. All email enquiries will be responded to in the usual way. Full details of all or properties can be found on this website or alternatively at www.onthemarket.com If you have any questions regarding any of our properties or services please contact the office number – 01535980060 or alternatively 07966336618.

Category : News

To Deposit or to Reposit? –

This month our focus is on Deposits and how the traditional “bond” is being phased out, particularly after the introduction of the tenant Fee Ban legislation in June 2019.

Deposits are taken primarily as security for landlord at hte end of the tenancy and can be retained by the landlord if they can prove the tenant is in breach of their obligations. Strict rules of detailed processes exist regarding the protection of the deposit at the start of the tenancy although the most significant recent as part of the fee ban is that they are now capped at the equivalent of only 5 weeks worth of rent. This is the maximum amount that can be taken even if there are extraordinary circumstances such as landlord allowing pets to be kept at the property or even if tenant agrees to pay a higher amount. Importantly the cap also applies upon tenancy renewal with any amount taken previously that exceeds the cap needing to be refunded to tenant to comply with the act. As the saying goes however with every cloud there is a silver lining which in this case is the introduction of new deposit alternative schemes such as Reposit. Reposit is an insurance backed scheme offering landlords cover of up to 8 weeks worth of rent for end of tenancy breaches and the best news is that tenant pays the premium! Further details are available at https://reposit.co.uk/ As well as the increased protection this offers landlord it also reduces the up front cost to tenant making the moving process a whole let cheaper for tenant.

Watch out for future monthly updates although if you do have any queries in relation to the above please feel free to give the office a call – 01535 980060

Category : News

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) – April 2020

In 2016, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 established the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in the residential and commercial private rented sector.

This has been introduced by government to improve the quality of private rented buildings and reduce the overall CO2 emissions in accordance with the UKs targets for decarbonisation. From 1st April 2018, phase one of the MEES regulations came into force which has big implications for landlords of private rented property. As a result of this, it is now deemed unlawful to let properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below an ‘E’ rating.
MHCLG previously highlighted the scale of those affected by MEES, with 20%-25% of residential and commercial properties in England and Wales hitting or falling below the minimum standards. There is also a chance that the standard could be raised further to a D rating by 2025 and a C rating by 2030.
What does this mean for Domestic/Residential Landlords?
From the 1st April 2018 all private rented properties must achieve an energy efficiency rating of at least an E on their EPC, to meet the minimum standards. This will initially applied only upon the granting of a new tenancy to a new or existing tenant however from 1st April 2020 this now applies to ALL TENANCIES
Landlords will need to take action to avoid any non-compliance penalties (estimated at £5000) and protect the value of their assets. If a property does not meet the minimum standards, it will be deemed unlawful for landlords to market or let a property and leave themselves exposed if a continuing tenancy does not meet the minimum standards.
Landlords self funding and cost cap- April 2019 (Domestic only)
Following an amendment to MEES regulations, from 1st April 2019, the ‘no cost to the landlord’ provision will no longer be available. As a result of this landlords will not be able to register a ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption, which was previously registered by those who were unable to make improvements to their property without incurring a cost. This means that domestic landlords must use their own funding to cover the cost of improving their property to EPC band E. This requirement is subject to a spending cap of £3,500 (inclusive of VAT) for each property and is only necessary when third party funding is unavailable.
Those who have already registered for the ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption prior to regulation changes (1st April 2019), will no longer be exempt for five years, and will now need to make the necessary improvements to their property to ensure it meets EPC band E (or as close as possible) by April 2020.
About the cost/spending cap
The £3,500 (incl VAT) cost/spending cap applies to the overall cost of improving the property and is not a cap applied to individual measures. Landlords only need to fund what they need, to improve the property to Band E. The spending cap is not a requirement and analysis shows that the average cost of improving a property from EPC band F or G to band E, would be much less than this.
In cases where a landlord is unable to improve their property to band E within the £3,500 cap, then they should install all measures which can be installed up to the £3,500 cap, and then register an exemption on the basis that ‘all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E’ Possible third party funding is available but on a very limited basis.

Category : News

LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE

LegionnairesLegionnaires disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria with infection being caused by inhalation of droplets of water carrying the bacteria.  It is non contagious.  There has been some recent confusion over the responsibilities placed upon residential landlords with some advisors suggesting landlords must seek a specific Legionella testing certificate.  This is not the case with the landlords requirement being unchanged from them simply having a duty of care to ensure their properties are free from health and safety hazards.  In most cases where domestic properties have small water systems with a high turnover the risk of Legionella is low however landlords are still required to carry out a risk assessment  followed by periodic subsequent reviews.  Provided the landlord has an adequate knowledge of the properties water system there is no reason why they cannot carry out the assessment themselves.  Full details of the requirements can be found at the HSE website – www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-you-must-do  If you would like further details on this topic or indeed assistance in arranging a risk assessments if needed then please feel free to give either Marie or Lee a call who will be more than happy to help

Category : News

Flooring in rental properties – Which to choose?

images flooringAs a landlord, keeping your property in good condition is one of your top priorities. You want to ensure that the walls are damp free, drainage and guttering is clear, smoke alarms, gas safety certificates and that any appliances are correctly installed and meet the required safety standards. But what of the floors in your property?

Many landlords make the mistake of installing cheap carpet but this can soon prove costly, with carpet having to be regularly replaced due to spillages and stains, keeping in odour and bacteria, and in some extreme cases, problems with mildew. Investing in a more durable, long-term solution such as engineered wood flooring or laminate could end up saving you money in the long run.Often overlooked by landlords and their tenants alike, taking care of the flooring in your property should be towards the top of your list when it comes to maintenance.

There are many advantages to installing an engineered wood floor or laminate in your property, with one of the main plus points being how easy they are to take care of. Cleaning these types of floors is a simple task, particularly with the latter, with a well wrung out mop and cleaning solution the ideal method. Ensuring you use the right cleaning solution, it will help bring the shine back to the floor and remove any soft stains.

If you’re going to install a wood floor in your property, then you will also have to consider which finish to apply to the wood. A lacquered or oiled finish will give an additional protective layer to the wood flooring, making it easier to care for, and more resistant to knocks and scratches. With an average lifespan of more than 50 years, wooden flooring is a great solution for many rooms.

Having said that, laminate flooring is another option which you may wish to consider, particularly for areas such as kitchens, bathrooms or utility rooms. Depending on your choice of style, laminate can look very similar to a real wood floor, but it typically comes cheaper than the real thing. Not only this, but laminate is incredibly easy to replace should any of it get damaged, and so it has a massive appeal to landlords who want to renovate on a budget.

Of course, there are many different flooring options to choose from, but we would recommend both engineered and laminate for rental properties due to their durability, and their ease of installation and upkeep.

 

Category : News

Protecting Empty Properties During Winter

Christmas-house-and-snow_1366x768With the days getting shorter and considerably colder the first frosts of winter are upon us and it is important to ensure that empty properties are protected during the winter months.  I have therefore set out below a few thoughts and tips that may help avoid any potential problems.

 

 

1 –Insurance

Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to scratch and that you’re covered for winter-related damage.  If it comes to sorting out water damage to your Christmas presents or fixing a leaky roof, you’ll be glad you had the right cover in place – see attached flyer introducing G Moore & Co.

2 – Keep your pipes toasty

Burst pipes are common during winter due to rapid freezing and thawing, potentially causing massive damage.  The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your pipes warm with lagging, which will reduce the heat lost and insulate the pipes to stop them from freezing.

3 – Get your boilers looked at

A poorly maintained boiler wastes more energy and costs more, and it also runs the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. Consider getting your boiler serviced before winter.

4 – Insulation – more than just a woolly jumper

About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there are a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.

5 – Bleed the radiators

If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly.  It’s time to grab a towel and your special key and bleed that radiator! Bleeding the radiators releases the air, allowing the radiator to run more efficiently.

6 – Switch energy suppliers

If your bills are still high despite these improvements, give your energy supplier a call and see if you can be put onto a more appropriate energy tariff.  If that’s not good enough you can look for a supplier that’ll offer you a bigger discount. There’s no disruption in service; all that happens is that your money goes to a different company when you pay your bill.

7 – Guttering

As summer draws to a close, the leaves will start falling, and gutters and drainpipes will start to get filled with loose foliage.  Once the blockage becomes too much, water will start to back up in the guttering and leak into the roof and down the walls of the house. Make sure your gutters are completely free from grime and dirt to minimise water blockage.

8 – Tree trimming

You know who’s to blame for your guttering getting clogged up with leaves?  It’s those trees, making a mess of your house and getting away with it.  Take a stand against them and get them trimmed away from the house.  This will reduce the amount of foliage that will drop into the guttering, and will also reduce the build-up of snow on the tree that could cause damage from broken branches.

9 – No entry for draughts

Those chilly winter breezes are wily things, and they’ll try everything they can to slip through the nooks and crannies of your home.  Check the edges of your doors and windows for draughts, and you can either seal these gaps with self-adhesive draught strips, or get one of those funny draught excluders shaped like a snake or a dog.

Category : News

Condensation Advice

CONDENSATION ADVICEcondensation

As winter comes, so does condensation and mould in many rental properties, The root cause in residential property can become a bone of contention between landlords and tenants. In the UK, condensation and mould are a common problem. Rental properties are particularly vulnerable.

The problem can vary in severity from a small patch of mould or discoloured wallpaper behind a cupboard in the corner of a room to serious amounts of mould growth across walls, inside wardrobes and on furnishings, carpets and in basements. Condensation in residential property is caused by warm, moist air generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms penetrating colder parts of the building. When the air becomes cold, it is unable to hold the extra moisture produced by everyday activities, so some of this moisture appears as small droplets of water – most noticeable on windows or on places where there is little movement of air. If not properly dealt with, this extra ‘dampness’ can lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, window frames and even on clothes. Very often the main cause of mould growth is the lifestyle of the occupants – the Tenants. The average person will produce condensation through cooking, washing, internal drying, etc. Landlords and agents need to be aware of the potential problems which excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and should take steps to minimise the risks. Many properties, including new builds, will suffer from condensation during the winter months.  So it is vital that landlords keep the property properly maintained and advise tenants on how they can reduce the levels of condensation. This being said it is ultimately the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the property is well aired to avoid condensation occurring and causing damage.

ALL TENANTS SHOULD

Keep the property adequately heated and ventilated.

Dry all windows, windowsills, and any other surfaces that have become… wet. Ensure the cloth is rung out thoroughly , do not dry on the radiator!

Try to keep the interior temperature of the property at a reasonably constant level.

Always hang washing outside. If this is not possible, hang it in the bathroom with the door closed and window slightly open for ventilation.

Do not dry washing on radiators as this will add to moisture already in the air.

Ensure that all extractor fans are working and ensure that Tenants use them.

If a Tenant uses a tumble dryer, they should ensure it is well ventilated to the outside, or that it is the new condensing type.

Tenants should ventilate the kitchen when in use, either by opening a window slightly or using the extractor fan.

Both kitchens and bathrooms should be ventilated for at least twenty minutes after use.

If your property is prone to condensation then providing a Tenant with a de-humidifier for daily use can be very beneficial. These come in all shapes and sizes, cost very little to run and draw out the excess moisture from the air, helping to keep the condensation under control.

Category : News