Welcome to our first Newsround of February where we see what has been trending in the housing news this week.
Landlords, have your say on helping the disabled rental sector
As part of the all-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee MP’s are looking into how the private rental sector can be improved for disabled renters.
They have issued the following statement
We are interested in hearing your experience of finding or adapting suitable accessible housing. We are also interested in hearing your views of what more could be done to improve housing provision for disabled people. The responses to this survey will inform the Committee’s final Report.
The survey is anonymous and respondents are discouraged from sharing identifying details.
The survey takes around eight minutes to complete and you will also have the chance to share your experiences in person with the Committee at ‘engagement events’.
You can complete the survey here.
Call for new Property Portal to show accessibility per property
In addition to MP’s looking into better accommodation for disabled renters a disability rights group are also pushing the government for the new property portal in include accessibility information for disabled renter.
They want the portal to include how many properties canbe easily adapted at low cost as well as the availability of grants. They also want landlords to complete a questionnaire regarding their property’s accessibility.
The group state that currently there is no requirement for landlords to provide basic accessibility information and only 6% of the Disabled Facilities Grant that canbe used to adapt properties goes to private renters.
Laura Vincinanza from Inclusion London says
With rising rents, competition between potential tenants attending mass viewings and bidding wars, there is no incentive for landlords to provide basic information about the accessibility of their properties. We believe the government’s proposal to introduce the property portal in the PRS represents a vital opportunity to embed accessibility.
Inspection, Inspection, Inspection!
Direct Line has carried out some research on the most common breaches by tenants, these include non payment of rent, unclean homes, and not reporting general maintenance and repair issues to their landlord, unauthorised pets, smoking, anti social behaviour, tampering with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and sub letting to name but a few!
This just emphasises why landlords need to carry out regular inspections. 55% of landlords carry out six month inspections while a staggering 21% only carry out inspections annually, more shockingly only 10% of landlords only visit their property at the beginning of the tenancy.
Sarah Casey, Landlord Product Manager at Direct Line says
Early intervention can often stop these from developing into a bigger problem that requires landlords to take further action.
Direct Line have also researched that 72% of landlords have to deal with belongings left by tenants after a tenancy has ended. 63% of landlords have had to remove left rubbish followed by 56% of general junk. 25% of landlords have had to store belongings with 32% having to chase down ex-tenants to collect their belongings.
Sarah Casey of Direct Line says
Ensuring that your tenancy agreement has a clause relating to the disposal of items left behind by tenants is a great first step to ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
The average cost of clearing up after a tenant is £209, while some landlords have had to may as much as £500. This can delay re-letting your property and 34% of landlords have confirmed this. However, encouragingly 52% of landlords were aware of the correct procedure to follow when left with a previous tenants’ belongings.
Landlord fined for failing to provide documents to the Council
Landlords sometimes ignore correspondence and notices from their Council and may even claim that councils are not allowed to have information because of ‘data protection’.
However, this is not true, as a Coventry landlord discovered when he ignored a Requisition for Information Notice under section 16 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and a notice requiring him to produce documents under section 235 of the Housing Act 2004.
He was fined £770 for failing to respond to these, along with a costs order.
So if your Council asks for information – do not ignore it!
Inspirational eco-village in Essex
Finally, I spotted this article about Cannock Mill, an eco-village in Essex. It just shows what can be done.
It would be good to see more of this sort of thing. What do you think?
Holiday home owners may face higher tax bills
Half of councils don’t talk to local landlords, probe reveals
Council reassures landlords over problems with licence systems
Labour vows to make private landlords adopt ‘Awaab’s Law’
Newsround will be back next week.