Landlord News

Keep up to date with landlords news. Latest information for Landlords on appliance protection, legislation and emerging trends.

Handy Letting Checklist – Self Managed 

We have put together a handy checklist for first time Landlords embarking on letting for the first time – it’s also probably a useful reminder for any other Landlords out there. If you have just had a long term tenancy end you can get a little rusty on what essentials you need to go through.

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Tenancy Agreement

Obtain an upto date Short Term Tenancy Agreement. With legislation changes (particularly in the last few years) it is important to ensure this is upto date. There are several out in the marketplace but we would recommend Propertyhawk and their free downloadable agreement.

References

Ask the new prospective tenant for details of their previous Landlord so you can obtain verbal or written references. It may also be useful to obtain employer details and details of next of kin in cases of an emergency. We would of course recommend using Landlord Referencing for further peace of mind !

Tenant Details

To instil confidence that your tenant can afford the rent we would suggest obtain copies of latest bank statements and also confirmation of the prospective’s current salary or earning capacity.

Deposit

Landlords now have a legal obligation to ensure a tenant’s deposit if put in one of the government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes. This must also be done within 30 days of receiving the deposit from your tenant. Please see (www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview)for more details.

EPC

Tenants have a right to see the Energy Performance Certificate for your property so they can gauge what their likely energy costs are going to be. Ensure you have this and a copy with which you can provide to them.

Landlord Gas Safety Certificate

Commonly referred to as a CP12 (Corgi Proforma 12) this certifies that any gas appliances (and associated flues) within your property are safe to use. This is a legal requirement and must be performed annually. A copy of the latest certificate should be provided to your tenant when they move in and subsequent renewals once actioned should also then be provided within 28 days of completion.

Inventory

It is vitally important that you conduct an inventory at the start (and end) of a new tenancy. A list and accompanying photograph of all items and their condition should be set out. We would also recommend Utility meter readings are captured and recorded via this document. This should be signed also by both Landlord and Tenant.

Council Tax and Utility Bills

Once you have agreed a move in date you should inform the local council of the new tenant details and the date when they will occupy the property. This will ensure both parties pay their due amount concerning the contribution for Council Tax. Note the stance taken by Councils varies significantly from borough to borough. Some offer partial discount for temporarily vacant properties and others demand full payment. Also ensure from your inventory above that all Utility companies are informed of the transfer date. Your tenant should make their own arrangements regarding providing their details for switching over supply and indeed selecting their own provider dependent on their circumstances.

User Manuals

Ensure you leave or provide copies of any user guides for White Goods or Heating appliances so that the tenant is aware of how to correctly operate. This will avoid any potential misuse and any unnecessary calls asking for guidance.

Your Details

Whilst you will have your tenant’s details it can sometimes be overlooked to provide them with your details and this will be important in case of emergency or allowing them to contact you via phone or email in case of an appliance fault or boiler breakdown etc.

Mail

If you have been living in the property we would recommend getting your mail redirected via Royal Mail whilst you update details directly with Utility companies and your contact list. It is unfair to ask the tenant to forward and additionally it is not acceptable to “drop in” unannounced for the purposes of collecting correspondence.


Landlords and the importance of a good Inventory 

Inventories are an important tool for both Tenant and Landlord in order to ensure from the commencement of the let there is clarity between both parties on the condition of the property and the fixtures and fittings. The importance of this document when compiled correctly should not be understated in helping to minimise tenancy deposit disputes at check out time.

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The document should describe in detail the current condition of the property (by room) and also the fixtures and fittings. The language and wording use in the document should be made as clear as and straight forward as possible in order for ambuity to be later avoided. We would recommend the following details be captured where applicable:

  • Weather conditions on the day
  • Item Quantity
  • Item Colour
  • Item Features
  • General Condition
  • Tested (particularly in reference to electrical items or White Goods)

It is also wise to evidence each item or room with digital photographs where possible which should be printed off to form part of the Inventory document.

As well as capturing both Landlord and Tenant signatures at the end of the Inventory we would also recommend getting the Tenant to initial each individual page of the document for extra security.

Having once established the condition from the outset of the let we would promote that Landlords continue this good work with completing 6 monthly interim checks. This catches any problems before they arise and the final check-out inventory is completed.

At checkout the inventory then really comes into its own. With tenants who have been in situ several years it is impossible without a clear document to refer back to in order to recall the state and condition of contents and without one disagreements can easily arise through faulty recollection.

Surveys typically show that circa 40% of all deposits are challenged for some level of deduction (dirty Ovens are usually cited as the number one issues as well) and an inventory should help in most cases prevent the stress and hassle of ending up in a Alternative Dispute Resolution.


Landlords and Council Tax Exemptions 

Once was the time that Landlords automatically enjoyed Council Tax exemptions when the rental property was empty for refurbishment or during a void tenancy period. Since April 2013 however Councils have been given the authority to set their own rules around exemption periods. The application and variation of the options taken up by Councils significantly varies from borough to borough. As a maximum the 2013 rulings allow Councils to charge up to 150% of the tax from the first day that the property is empty.

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In the normal course of events the Tenant in situ is responsible for registering and paying for the Council Tax which is applicable to the property. This does not however relate to Landlords of HMOs (House of Multiple Occupancy) where the Landlord of the property is liable for the charge.

Tenant and Landlord can also get a 100% exemption if the property is let by full time students. This situation can become complicated however when there are a mix of full time students and also non students sharing the property. In these cases generally a portion of the tax will be payable.

The onus for paying for the Council Tax however falls on the Landlord once the tenant vacates and the property becomes empty. There are ways that Landlords can then avoid paying Council Tax or gaining an exemption. Some councils will still offer exemptions where the property is unoccupied although this has a limit of a maximum of 6 months and a 50% discount can also be applied where the dwelling is unfurnished. This applies to furniture and not White Goods or Kitchen appliances.

Lastly a discount is also available if the you undertake major repairs or structural changes which means the property is uninhabitable. This again can vary but can be offered for up to a maximum of 12 months.


Everything a Landlord needs to know about Tenancy Deposit Schemes 

If you began renting a property in England and Wales on an assured shortterm tenancy since April 2007 Landlords have a legal duty where a deposit has been taken to put the money in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme. (TDP).

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There are different rules however dependent on which part of the British Isles your property is. In England and Wales there are 3 schemes where the deposit can be registered:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

In Northern Ireland legislation to protect the tenant’s deposit was not made compulsory for Landlords until April 2013. Again there are 3 options available to Landlords:

  • TDS Northern Ireland
  • MyDeposits
  • Letting Protection Service

Lastly in Scotland there is also a choice of 3 schemes:

  • Letting Protection Service Scotland
  • Safedeposits Scotland
  • MyDeposits Scotland

The effective date which Landlords should adhere to is much more complex than in the above and is best referred to at the Scot Gov website (www.scotland.gov.uk)

The deposit once taken must be placed in one of the above schemes within 30 days in most cases. In Northern Ireland however this must be done within 14 days. On completion of this the Landlord must then in turn inform the tenant within 28 days in writing of the value and within which scheme the deposit has been placed.

On the basis that the tenant adheres to the STA and does not cause any damage to the property the Landlord must return the deposit in full within 10 days. If there is damage or outstanding rent or bills an agreement should be reached with the tenant (which we would recommend in writing) stating how much is to be returned.

In case of a deduction the Landlord should inform the relevant scheme of the value and the reason. The tenant is then asked to verify the details (which is where written agreement of this will prove its worth) before the deducted value is released to the Landlord.


Leasehold Terms and Conditions – does your STA reflect ? 

Any Landlord who has experience in the market will probably be familiar with the standard terms and conditions that are contained within an assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement contract. However it can be easy to overlook other conditions which may exist within the leasehold agreement within which the Landlord is bound – and the tenant in turn should be.

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We have come across a variety of different conditions which exist as part of the leasehold and it is worthwhile all Landlords checking back on the original lease documents when creating the STA to ensure these are contained or at least included as an addendum.

Some of the stranger terms we have encountered in the past require windows to be cleaned every 4 weeks, no hanging of clothes outside the premises and even no displaying of flower pots outside the premises ! Some more relevant potential tenant issues particularly in apartment blocks can involve the inability to keep animals on the premise, not to install satellite dishes and the keeping of bicycles only in designated cycle areas. If you do not make the tenant aware of such issues you could be storing up problems.

We would urge all Landlords to check T&Cs – in the worse cases with serious breaches this can incur additional costs from your leaseholder to enforce or rectify as a result of your tenant’s actions.


Universal Credit and Landlords. How will it effect me ? 

Firstly what is it ? In simple terms it is the merging of a number of tax credits and working-age benefits into one single payment for the claimant. The main driver behind the changes is to try and simplify the benefits claims system. The government is looking to introduce Universal Credit on a phased basis from February 2015 and this will apply to England, Scotland and Wales initially.

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It is expected that the changes will impact over 8 million people and effects are thought to be far reaching. Of the most notable changes involves the frequency of payment which will now change from a once a month payment from the current weekly or fortnightly schedule. Additionally if two people in one household are eligible for benefits they would currently receive separate payments, moving forward this will change to one single payment.

Regarding the working-age benefits this will involve 6 existing ones merged into one. With particular reference to Landlords this involves the merging of housing benefit. At present where a tenant may receive state help towards the cost of rental fees the money can sometimes be paid directly to a landlord.

This piece is of particular interest to Landlords as under the Universal Credit all monies will always go straight to tenant (given the payment will be a combination of different benefits ) who will then have to pay in turn the rent directly to the Landlord. Some concerns have been raised regarding defaults on the basis that people who have not previously had to budget their income will now be expected to do so.

The reality is however nobody knows how well the changes will be received. We would instruct Landlords to understand if any of their tenants are on benefit support in order to understand the potential impact and work with the tenant to ensure the transition has no detrimental effects on either party.


Landlord Revenge Evictions. ARLAs recent findings. 

Shelter gained much publicity regarding the claim earlier this year that evictions termed as ‘revenge’ i.e a Landlord regaining possession of their property because of a complaint from a tenant had reached epidemic proportions with upwards of 200,000 evictions claimed per year as a result of tenants asking their Landlords to fix a problem in their home.

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In contrast and as part of the All Parties Parliamentary Group enquiry into the Tenancies Reform Bill ARLA (the Association of Residential Lettings Agents) however have just completed a study which suggests that this action amounts to just over 7,000 evictions per annum or 0.18% of all tenancies.

To read the full findings of the study and for a more balanced view of the story please visit the ARLA website www.arla.co.uk.


Being a Landlord. More stressful than expected ! 

A recent survey has confirmed what we probably already knew. Being a Landlord is more stressful than expected ! One in four newbie Landlords have found the experience more daunting than expected but perhaps of more concern is that experienced Landlords are also reporting they are feeling 67% more stressed now than this time last year.

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The main contributing factors were listed as late rent payments (53%), tax worries (38%) and (40%) concerned with property maintenance and repairs. We may not be able to help with tax or late rent payments but we can help take some strain away from unexpected White Good repairs and breakdowns.

With our direct debit option you can budget and spread any unexpected costs over a 12 month period giving you one less thing to worry about . If we cannot repair we will also replace your appliance on a new for old basis so removing the need to source and spend additional unbudgeted money on a new appliance.

With enough red tape to worry about create some piece of mind with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy and cover your appliances today.


Top 5 reasons for Landlord Deposit Disputes 

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) annual review of 2012/13 has revealed the top 5 reasons for Landlord / Tenant Deposit disputes.

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In order they are listed as:

1) Ovens (left dirty)

2) Carpets (stained or marked)

3) Limescale in kitchens & bathrooms

4) Grease deposits (particularly in kitchens)

5) Thick dust

The number one reason comes in at Ovens but this also extends to include dirty Fridges in addition.

Tenants will usually attempt to clean the appliances themselves at the end of the tenancy but often Landlords will have let the property having had the cooker or fridge professionally cleaned beforehand.

Landlord Appliance Protection would recommend the best way to avoid confusion and dispute at checkout is to make clear with the tenant what is expected. A simple rule to follow is that if an appliance was clean at check in then it should be left clean by the tenant at checkout.


Looking for a Landlord Association ? Use our list. 

Further to our recent Landlords News article on the merits of joining a Landlord Association we have compiled a convenient list should you wish to enquire further:

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Further to our recent Landlords News article on the merits of joining a Landlord Association we have compiled a convenient list should you wish to enquire further:

National Associations

Residential Landlord Association (www.rla.org.uk)

National Landlords Association (www.landlords.org.uk)

Landlords Guild (www.landlordsguild.com)

Regional Landlord Associations (North)

Northwest Landlords Association (www.northwestlandlords.co.uk)

Sheffield and District Landlord Association(www.sadla.org.uk)

Humber Landlords Association (www.thehla.co.uk)

York Residential Landlords Association (www.yorkrla.co.uk)

Barnsley Regional Landlords Association (www.barnsleyrla.co.uk)

Gateshead Private Landlords Association(www.renting-in-gateshead.co.uk)

Darlington & District Private Landlords Association (www.darlingtonlandlords.co.uk)

Scottish Landlords (www.scottishlandlords.com)

Northwest Property Owners (www.nwpoa.co.uk)

Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire Landlords Association (www.snila.co.uk)

Humber (South Bank) (www.humberlandlords.com)

Landlords Association for Northern Ireland (www.lani.org.uk)

Regional Landlord Associations (Midlands)

North Staffordshire Landlords Association (www.nsla.co.uk)

East Midlands Property Owners (www.empo.co.uk)

Leicester Landlords (www.leicesterlandlords.com)

Regional Landlord Associations (South West)

Devon Landlords Association (www.devonlandlords.co.uk)

Southwest Landlords (www.landlordssouthwest.co.uk)

West Country Landlords Association (www.wlainfo.co.uk)

Cornwall Residential Landlords Association (www.crla.org.uk)

Regional Landlord Associations (South)

Southern Landlords Association (www.southernlandlords.org)

Portsmouth and District Private Landlords Association (www.pdpla.com)


Buy to Let age limits reconsidered 

Typically buy to let mortgage lenders have upper age limits on buy let mortgages of 75 for first time landlords and older for more experienced ones, however this could be set to change as the government plans to give pensioners greater access to retirement savings from next year.

Independent research from BDRC shows that 75% of landlords view their property as their pension however current age restrictions mean many are required to sell their property once the mortgage matures whilst others struggle to obtain funding from buy-to-let mortgages to become landlords in later life.

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One lender, The Mortgage Works, has already introduced a maximum age of 70 at which borrowers can apply for a mortgage with up to 35 year terms, which could see others follow,

Managing Director, Henry Jordan, said: "We are aware that a significant proportion of landlords intend to use their buy-to-let property as a form of retirement provision.

“Our removal of upper age limits at maturity will ensure our customers are offered greater choice and flexibility around the point at which they might sell their property; providing increased peace of mind for their tenants, as well as supporting stability in the wider market."

This follows George Osborne’s plans to allow greater access to pensions from the age of 55, without incurring harsh penalties, from 2015. Lenders believe this means more will take a cash lump sum when retiring to invest in property as a retirement income.


Landlord Associations are they worth joining ? 

It is estimated that there are between 1.5 and 1.9 million landlords in the UK as at the time of writing.

Compare this figure to membership numbers of some of the larger Landlord Associations (NLA 40,000 and RLA 17,000) and it is clear that there is a huge gap between the number of landlords now in the UK and those who bother to join a recognised Landlord Association.

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Why is this? And what should a landlord consider when deciding to join an association. Well in our experience the membership costs offer extremely good value for money. Prices and policies vary between each organisation but there is a good choice of National or Regional and also Commercial / Non Profit making associations to pick from.

Membership fees can start from under £100 annually and as well as providing a useful hub and central repository for all things Landlord they also offer access to services and products at discounted or Trade prices. Memberships fees we find can therefore be easily recouped with few necessary and pertinent purchases such as insurance or decorating supplies.

Landlord Appliance Protection are a strong supporter of Landlord Associations and in recognition of this offer an additional free month of appliance cover upon purchase of a Landlord Appliance Protection policy. To qualify for this simply enter your Landlord Association membership number when completing your payment details and we will do the rest.


Extended Warranty. Is it worth the money ? 

This point gets debated from time to time and people tend to fall into one of two camps concerning this issue. There are those who believe in the value of insuring their appliances to guard against the possibility of breakdowns and those who firmly believe that they are better off running the risk of paying for repairs and new appliance replacements as and when the problem occurs.

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We at Landlord Appliance Protection believe that insuring your kitchen appliances is a prudent way to budget (on a monthly basis if paid by Direct Debit) for the eventuality of a product breakdown and under the terms of our cover you also qualify for a new appliance if it cannot be repaired.

Let us also consider some facts relating to breakdown costs as compiled by Which? magazine. (Data obtained from July 2012 study). Which? obtained the following one off repair quotes for common appliance breakdown problems:

- Washing Machine. Supply and fit new door seal. Average price range £82 to £106

- Washing Machine. Supply and fit new pump. Average price range £88 to £110

- Electric Fan Oven. Supply and fit new element. Average price range £86 to £102

- Dishwasher. Supply and fit new heating element. Average price range £114 to £192

(Part costs and availability can vary dependent on the appliance brand and model type.)

In most instances in this sample therefore the cost of one off repair will typically be higher than the price of protecting your appliances with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy. If therefore your washing machine or cooker suffers a breakdown (and not all appliances incur a mechanical or electrical fault of course) we believe we offer a good value for money extended warranty option to give yourself one less thing to worry about when managing your property.


Kitchens. The most important room in the house ? 

Research has revealed that the living room or lounge still feels like the heart of home for most residents and over 80% of respondents claim that this is the room where most time is spent.

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Kitchen diners are however becoming more popular but the kitchen in general is showing a trend with the younger generation as the place where they like to spend the majority of their time. The age group of 18 to 24 in particular are more likely to choose the kitchen for spending time in than the national average across all other age demographics.

With this in mind all the more reason to ensure that your tenant has no problems with any of the kitchen appliances especially the cooker or hob.

Obtain your piece of mind with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy and cover your appliances today.


Gas Safety for Landlords 

All landlords renting properties (including holiday rental accommodation) have a responsibility for the safety of their tenants. There is additionally a legal duty of responsibility regarding gas safety which all landlords should be aware of.

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The Gas Safety Regulations are readily available from the Health and Safety Executive but to provide you with an overview of the landlord’s responsibilities this includes:

- The repair and maintenance of all gas appliances, flues and pipework to ensure they are in a usable safe functional condition

- The completion by a Gas Safe registered engineer of an annual gas safety check on each appliance and flue

- Keeping a record of the annual gas safety check and ensuring that your tenant has also been provided with a copy within 28 days of completion of the check (or if a new tenant when they move in)

Note however that you are only responsible for appliances that you provide for the tenant. If the tenant has supplied their own gas appliance then that it not down to the landlord to annually check – the connected or utilised flue or pipework still is however !

Unless you are Gas Safe registered you should not attempt any repairs to any gas appliances including cookers, ovens, hobs and tumble dryers.

In these situations you should consult www.gassaferegister.co.uk to find a locally qualified tradesperson or better still by covering all your gas appliances with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy.

With appliance insurance from Landlord Appliance Protection you can relax and feel safe in the knowledge that we will only ever send suitably qualified Gas Safe engineers to repair your kitchen appliances.


Tenant Repair Requests Up 

Landlords and Lettings Agents experienced a threefold increase in repair requests for the start of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013.

According to figures released from Lettings Agents and Management Companies, tenant problems exceeded over 180% from Dec to Mar 2014 over the same comparable period of 2013.

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Additionally over the last 6 months tenants have reported a wide range of problems relating to the building structure (especially roofs) to other internal issues related to the bathroom or the main heating system.

Over 10% of all issues originated in the kitchen and unless you have all your appliances covered with extended warranty insurance protection you could well have received or could be expecting a distress call from your tenant requesting a repair to your washing machine or cooker.

Landlord Appliance Protection has designed several extended warranty products specifically for the landlord market. View our products today to see how we could help you.


Landlords are you completing your repairs  

According to research by housing and homelessness charity Shelter 1 in 9 tenants say they believe their health has been affected by their Landlord’s or Property Management Agency’s inefficiency to complete repairs or remedial actions to faults which have occurred.

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Additionally 1 in 10 renters who reside in a privately owned dwelling could be at risk from gas safety hazards whilst 1 in 11 are living in a home with electrical hazards.

Landlords, particularly those who are new to the rental industry, sometimes do not fully appreciate the full scope of their responsibilities and also have not had an opportunity to build a network of trusted and reputable tradespersons to call upon when things go wrong.

That’s where Landlord Appliance Protection could provide a useful solution for any problems which may develop with gas or electrical kitchen appliances. Through our network of fully qualified nationally spread field service engineers we can ensure that upon receipt of a claim we can instruct a suitably gas or electrically competent engineer to resolve the issue.

Get your appliance insurance today with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy and give yourself one less problem to worry about.


Landlord Deposits 

In a 2014 survey of Tenants just 9% have reported deposit deductions by their Landlord or management company at the end of their tenancy.

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A deposit has typically been taken by landlords of letting agencies in order to mitigate the risk of a tenant breaching the terms of their tenancy.

There are some interesting regional discrepancies within the survey results however with tenants in the South East and Midlands areas being more prone to facing a deduction in their full deposit return than other regions of the UK.

Wear and tear should always be expected especially during a longer tenancy but is no reason to withhold or deduct money from a tenants deposit. A common cause of disagreement however at the end of a tenancy can exist around the understanding of the property being left in the condition it was found. The can be specifically include examples such as leaving a clean cooker or oven which will be fit for you use immediately by a new tenant. This is where one of Landlord Appliance Protection’s recommended partners OvenU www.ovenu.co.uk can prove evaluable to both tenant and landlord.

Additionally should any kitchen appliances develop a fault at the end of a tenancy avoid a potential area of conflict by protecting your kitchen appliances with an insurance policy from Landlord Appliance Protection.

We cover ovens, cookers, washing machines, dishwashers and fridge freezers of all the major household brands including but not limited to Indesit, Electroluix, Beko, Bosch and Hoover Candy.


Landlord Troubleshooting: Gas Appliances 

Did you know that only Gas Safe Certified engineers are qualified to install, service, repair or maintain Gas appliances. Trying to fix a boiler, cooker, oven, hob or tumble dryer yourself on behalf of a tenant places both landlord or tenant at extreme risk.

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A poorly repaired appliance by an unqualified engineer can result in fire, gas leaks, carbon monoxide emissions and in some cases explosions.

Gas safe engineers can be found be found via the Gas Safe register www.gassaferegister.co.uk or why not cover your appliances with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy where we only use suitably qualified Gas Safe engineers to complete the repair on your behalf.

Any Landlord renting a property with gas appliances should also have an annual inspection completed to verify the safety of the appliances and flue.

Some appliances will fail the inspection and require repair work before a certificate can be issued. Covering your appliances with a Landlord Appliance Protection insurance policy will enable you to conveniently arrange rectification and repair of the applicable appliances with one phone call to our claims line.

Once repaired your Gas Safe engineer will be able to produce your certificate which must be shared with your tenant within 28 days of it being issued.


Landlord Troubleshooting: Appliance Repairs 

According to research by housing and homelessness charity Shelter 1 in 9 tenants say they believe their health has been affected by their Landlord’s or Property Management Agency’s inefficiency to complete repairs or remedial actions to faults which have occurred.

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Additionally 1 in 10 renters who reside in a privately owned dwelling could be at risk from gas safety hazards whilst 1 in 11 are living in a home with electrical hazards.

Landlords, particularly those who are new to the rental industry, sometimes do not fully appreciate the full scope of their responsibilities and also have not had an opportunity to build a network of trusted and reputable tradespersons to call upon when things go wrong.

That’s where Landlord Appliance Protection could provide a useful solution for any problems which may develop with gas or electrical kitchen appliances. Through our network of fully qualified nationally spread field service engineers we can ensure that upon receipt of a claim we can instruct a suitably gas or electrically competent engineer to resolve the issue.

Get your appliance insurance today with a Landlord Appliance Protection policy and give yourself one less problem to worry about.


Landlords relying on Property for Retirement 

A recent study of private residential landlords has revealed over 40% are looking solely to their property portfolio investment in order to provide for their retirement income.

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The study also revealed that an additional 50% are looking to their properties to provide for a “major” part of their retirement income alongside the provision of a pension.

All good reasons to protect the investment made in the property and also the contents within.

Prudent provision should be made to keep the accommodation in good upkeep and this thinking should also apply to any contents that the landlord supplies for use by the tenants.

To assist with this and to allow Landlords to easily budget for kitchen appliance contents insure your appliances with Landlord Appliance Protection. Our new for old replacement cover with ensure that if we cannot keep your appliances in good working order we will replace your old kitchen appliances with an equivalent comparable new model.


Landlord Troubleshooting: Laundry Day 

Landlords with Flats or apartments will sympathise with tenants not always having sufficient space or facilitates to dry their wet clothes on a washing line or on an indoor rack over the bath.

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To alleviate this issue many Landlords will therefore provide a washer dryer or separate washing machine and tumble dryer in order to allow the tenant to dry their clothes without cluttering the property.

Regularly wet and drying clothes can also greatly contribute to condensation and damp build up in an inadequately ventilated room creating even bigger problems so the provision of these appliances can also work in the Landlord’s favour.

However once provided washing machines and tumble dryers can be a major point of disgruntlement for a tenant when a breakdown occurs. We would therefore recommend you avoid problems for both tenant and landlord alike by insuring your appliances with a Landlord Appliance Protection Policy for full Mechanical and Electrical breakdown cover – no one enjoys an unexpected trip to the laundrette !


Landlord Troubleshooting: Washing Machines 

If your tenant reports that the Washing Machine or Tumble Dryer is suddenly making strange or loud noises when in the spin cycle it is very probable that you have a foreign object lodged in the drum or in the worse case within the drum.

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It is vital to act on this quickly in order to ensure there is no subsequent damage to either clothes or more importantly your appliance.

Firstly once the Washing Machine or Dryer has stopped and is empty check around the inside of the drum to see if you can feel any objects protruding from the drum holes. If you are fortunate you may be able to pull out by hand or with pliers the offending object.

However if the item has found its way to the inside of the washing machine or the tumble dryer drum only an experienced DIY Landlord will be able to attempt resolution with any success.

We would recommend in these circumstances that you contact a reputable repair agent or arrange in advance suitable appliance insurance or extended warranty to protect your appliance.

For Landlords with Communal areas it may be useful to prevent any issues arising in the first place by placing a helpful reminder in these locations asking tenants to remove coins, collar stiffeners and even bra wires from clothing before putting them in the washing machine.


Landlord Troubleshooting: Control Knobs 

One of a Landlord’s biggest gripes concerning cookers is missing control knobs when it is tenant change over time.

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Control Knobs get used extensively by tenants and as a result can become broken or work loose and then go astray. Even if your appliance is under warranty you may find that free replacement of the knobs will not be part of your guarantee. In addition many appliance’s extended warranty plans and Landlord appliance insurance policies exclude cover for cosmetic parts which can include control knobs.

Fortunately replacing a control knob is one of the easiest self-repair jobs that a Landlord can undertake.

Firstly it is essential that you identify the correct replacement part. Begin with obtaining your appliance model number and if possible serial number which can be found on the data badge of your kitchen appliance.

We then recommend that you try our spares replacement partner Spares4appliances (www.spares4appliances.co.uk) who will be able to assist with most major brands and models.

Once you have received your replacement part, most fittings are easy with the majority of control knobs simply secured by pushing the component on to the control knob stem. Additional caution should be taken with gas cookers when fitting to ensure the control knob is fully engaged with the ignition pilot light.

Job done and no need for any expensive repair engineers !


Landlord Cooker Problems: Oven Door Seal 

If your tenant complains of their food taking longer to cook or is cooking food unevenly, then it could be a symptom that the door seal needs replacing. The best way to check this to turn the cooker on and feel around the outside of the oven door. If you can feel a strong draft of hot air coming out from a section, then it's a sure sign that the oven seal is worn and needs replacing.

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There are two different types of seal within your cooker. One which fits around the oven cavity frame and one that fits behind the door's front and back sections. The first kind can be easily replaced by any good DIY Landlord, but you'll probably need a professional repair agent for the second kind and this can be covered under your Landlord Appliance Protection Insurance Plan.

You could obtain your new seal from our spares partner Spares4appliances (www.spares4appliances.co.uk) and begin to fit it from the top of the oven door and down both side channels. Depending on the particular type of appliance, use either the holding screws or clips to fasten the seal in place. At the bottom of the oven door, join the ends of the seal together to complete the loop.

This is therefore not necessarily a job you need extended warranty or appliance insurance cover for but it is a relatively easy job for a DIY Landlord and one that will make all the difference to your tenant’s cooking.


UK rents stabilise 

Average rents across the UK appear to have stabilised, according to the latest HomeLet Rental Index.

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The October 2013 report shows the average cost of renting a home in the UK currently stands at £815 per month after decreasing by 4.6% during October. However, despite the monthly drop, tenants are still paying an average of 2.7% more than the same time last year.

When comparing previous years, this month's HomeLet Rental Index data Index shows from October 2010-2013, average UK rents increased less each year, after rising by 4.8% in 2011, 3.1% in 2012 and 2.7% in 2013. This is also true in the capital, where the rate of increase in average rents slowed down by 2.3% between October 2011-12 and 4% between October 2012-13.

Half of the UK's regions saw annual decreases in average rental amounts. Of the other six, only three saw rental amounts rise by more than 2%. Therefore the October UK annual increase (of 2.7%) has been driven by the East Midlands, Greater London and the North West, where average rents rose by 3.2%, 2.6% and 2.1% respectively.

Apart from Greater London, the North West is the only region to see three consecutive annual increases in average rental amounts. Despite the three increases, average rents in the North West are only 4.5% more expensive than they were in October 2010. In contrast, rents in Greater London are currently 20.6% higher than they were three years ago.

Gary Abraham, HomeLet's sales and marketing director, said: "Our new figures could suggest the effect of the economic downturn in 2008/09 is beginning to reduce. Government investment in schemes, such as Help to Buy, also appears to be helping to alleviate the recent so-called 'housing crisis'. There's certainly more confidence within the housing market at the moment and an increasing amount of first-time-buyers are now purchasing their own properties as a result of increased lending and mortgage availability.

"Recent reports suggest the Build to Rent scheme will improve the private rented sector by boosting the supply of buy-to-let homes within the market. Properties rented with longer-term tenancies as part of this scheme aim to not only offer additional security to tenants and their families, but also curb spiralling rents recorded over the past few years.

"What needs to be considered as part of these improvements though is who our tenants are. This month's HomeLet Rental Index data shows half of the UK's regions saw an increase in the percentage of retired people moving into a new rented home over the past 12 months. There's also been a 7% increase in the percentage of tenants aged 66-70 moving into a new rented property who used to own their own home over the same time period.

"It appears the demographic of the UK tenant is changing. While initiatives, such as the Build to Rent scheme, are positive moves to alleviate supply, the Government needs to consider these purpose-built properties are not going to be suitable for all tenants. Therefore, focus must also be kept on the maintenance of existing properties, so all tenants are able to live in suitable properties depending on their individual needs.

"The influx of people renting a home over the past few years caused the high demand, lack of supply and resulting increases in rental amounts. However, with more options available to potential buyers and tenants, it appears rental prices are beginning to stabilise. Momentum must be maintained though so those living within the private rented sector are offered the best quality properties and security needed as part of their tenancy agreements."


Landlords not worried about Help To Buy 

Private landlords are unworried about the affect the Government’s Help to Buy scheme will have on the private-rental sector, according to latest research from the National Landlords Association (NLA).

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The new figures show that just one in five (21%) landlords say they’re worried about the impact of Help to Buy on the private rental sector, while only 15% say they’re worried that it will have a detrimental effect their own lettings business.

More than 2,000 offers have been made using the Government’s new home ownership initiative, supporting a reported £365 million worth of mortgages. This has caused concern among some that the scheme might affect demand for private rented properties.

Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the NLA, said:

“It’s perhaps too soon to predict whether Help to Buy will have any real impact on the level of demand for private rentals, but these findings seem to confirm our belief that it will only affect the margins of the private-rented sector and that it doesn’t present a major concern for landlords at large.

“Much of the debate around Help to Buy is currently centred on the whether the scheme will create another housing bubble. However, this conversation is itself driven by the much bigger issue at hand: the fact that there are simply not enough homes for people, regardless of whether they want to rent or buy.

“While this is still the case the private-rented sector will play a vital role in meeting the housing demand and in the medium, if not long, term it is likely that renting for longer periods will become a normal part of our housing biographies. As such, the priority for the NLA is to ensure that rented homes are both enjoyable places to live and viable places to invest."


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