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  • Buy-to-Let

    Croydon LL Forum Notes

    For anyone with properties in Croydon:

    NOTES FROM CROYDON COUNCIL’S LANDLORD FORUM

    18 JUNE 2019

    Licensing Update:

    - Total applications received to end of March 2019: 35,014 (paid)

    - Number of LLs: 17K

    - New applications: 250-300 pm

    - Inspections: 12,029 since inception (Sept 2015)  (so about 3,400pa or 68 per week if 50 weeks)

    - Enforcement Notices since April '18: 232 (about 18pm)

    - Prohibition Orders since April 18:  21 (about 1.6pm)

    - Financial Penalty notices served: 16

    - ASBs in Croydon are down 0.8% in the year to April ’19.

    They were supposed to be discussing the renewal of Selective Licencing for Sept 2020 at this meeting but they didn’t.  I asked for an update and was told they’re still discussing it.  I asked if we would be consulted on the proposal and was told we wouldn’t get any input into it but when they have decided on the scheme they would put it out to consultation!

    Presentation by Karen Gregory of NLA:

    • They are compiling confidential information on LL’s experience of the S8 process and are looking for as many LLs as possible to give them examples which they will anonymise and present to the government.  Email contact@landlords.org.uk
    • They are petitioning to keep S21 and there’s a form you can fill in on landlords.org.uk/Section21 and you can also fill in a postcard
    • A new How to Rent booklet came out on 31/5/19.  The government have also created a How to Buy and How to Sell guides.
    • Re: Tenant Fees Ban, you cannot charge for gardening or cleaning.
    • NLA membership is £75pa.  Their advice line is open 6 days a week and do tax planning and CGT planning courses.  Use “Code 136” to get a £14 discount (so £61 membership fee).

    Presentation by Heat London:

    • There are now grants for the PRS to improve energy efficiency for properties with tenants on benefits.  First time central heating will be available for the PRS.
    • Local Authority flexible eligibility but usually for low income households: 1 person on £19,250, 2 people on £28,750, 3 people on £38,250 or 4 people on £47,750
    • Anticipate that properties will need to be Band D by 2025 and Band C by 2030
    • http://www.heat.london

    Presentation by Croydon’s Homelessness Prevention Manager Susan O’Neil:

    • The first words out of her mouth were “The largest cause of homelessness is S21 no fault evictions”
    • “We help tenants find faults with S21 notices to buy time for the tenant”
    • There’s a new Form 6A (which goes up to “F” now)
    • 89% of LL don’t serve prescribed info correctly
    • They have a team to help  tenants go after LLs to get 3x deposit

    I will be writing to her and copying the Licencing Team to explain to her the real cause of homelessness and enquire as to why our taxes are being spent on helping tenants (likely in breach of AST) screw money out of LLs who are trying to regain possession of their property.

    Presentation by a Annette Lewis, Rent Officer from the Regional Valuation Office South:

    • Annette Lewis covers Croydon, Lewisham & Greenwich
    • The data they gather was used to set LHA levels (which are now limited by the government)
    • They are looking to expand the pool of sources to include more LLs (mostly agents provide this info).  If you would like to provide rental information (property address, rent pcm, number of rooms and time taken to let) please contact Annette.f.lewis@voa.gsi.gov.uk
    • Average rent in Croydon is £550pcm
    • There is a rumour that the gov might relax LHA restrictions from next April

    Presentation by Croydon Lettings:

    • They work with LHA tenants and train them in budgeting and general life skills to enable them to maintain an tenancy in the PRS.
    • Currently working with 86 LL and have placed 50 tenants with no cases of rent arrears after first year
    • They don’t charge LLs fees and provide rent guarantee insurance

    Presentation by the Croydon Empty Property Team:

    • Covers properties that have been empty for 6+ months
    • They can’t share empty property data due to GDPR, tho’ if you find a property, they often know who the owners are so can act as a conduit between potential purchasers/developers and the owners
    • If property empty for 2+ years it’s 5% VAT – Notice 708 Section 8 – though only on work done via a contractor (not DIY)
    • They have a £1m empty property grant fund and £200K of loans available for 2+ bedrooms.  Grants of up to £25K each and loans up to £40K each (loans at 1% over BoE base and repaid in 2 years).  Must commit to renting to the council for tenants on the housing waiting list.  They have a 24 hour helpline.
    • https://www.croydon.gov.uk/privatehousing/emptyproperty
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    Proof, if any were needed, that this is just a Council money making scam.

    If applications from LL's stopped completely, it will take these clowns until 2026 to complete their inspections. In the mean time Landlords will probably have to pay another fee when the present scam expires in September2020.

    At the  same time you have another section of the same money grabbing organisation (Homeless prevention) encouraging tenants to break the law by either lying about non existent disrepair, or staying in their property "until the Bailiffs turn up". 

    Local Authorities are now just total and utter scum.

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    Thank you for taking the time to write these up Heather.  Very community spirited and much appreciated. Smile

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    This is great, thank you!

    "Re: Tenant Fees Ban, you cannot charge for gardening or cleaning." - Don't suppose you have any more information about this? This would be concerning.

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    Ok I suppose it's not too bad as I originally thought.

    Whilst you can't state that they pay for cleaning or gardening, you can request that the house is cleaned to a professional standard and that the garden is maintained.

    I guess it is up to the tenant then whether they are capable of doing that themselves or if they pay a professional. 

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    Yes, but the problem is (as I see it) that if they don't leave it clean/tidy, you can't charge them for it.

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    That's not my understanding. I'm pretty sure you can deduct from the deposit.

    If you have got the house professionally cleaned at the start of tenancy and this is documented in the inventory, then it is the tenant's obligation to return the property in a similar state, irrespective of whether they pay for the clean or not.

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