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East Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme

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e-Bulletin Issue 2

New energy rules will force landlords to upgrade properties

The Government has announced plans which it says will improve the energy efficiency of the private rented sector. The Green Deal is the Government’s new and radical way of making energy efficiency available to all, whether people own or rent their property.

Private landlords could be forced to increase the energy efficiency of their rental homes under the government’s new proposals as powers will be introduced allowing a tenant to demand reasonable energy efficiency improvements from 2015 onwards.

Homeowners and landlords will be able to take out “pay as you save” loans of up to £10,000 to pay for double glazing, solar panels or other energy efficiency measures to carry out environment-friendly retrofits on their properties. The loans will then be paid back over a long period from the savings made on their energy bills.

Local authorities will also be urged to demand that landlords improve energy efficiency through loft or cavity wall insulation in the worst-performing properties.

Landlords must make reasonable home improvements from 2015 or incur a fine of up to £5000.

As further information becomes available on the Green Deal and its implications for landlords, EMLAS will provide updates to keep you informed.

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Unipol Training

Unipol Training is the training division which provides conferences and short courses designed to improve training, standards and professionalism in student housing. Unipol is a non-profit-making charitable company which works for the benefit of its student consumers.

EMLAS landlords can now benefit from the partnership of Unipol and DASH. Unipol Training will allow EMLAS landlords to book onto training courses paying a discounted FRIENDS RATE .

Courses are available throughout the year and a sample is listed below:
Dealing with Difficult Tenants: The Toolkit
Inspecting Smaller Houses
The Student Lifecycle - Managing Tenancies at the Beginning, in the Middle and at the End

All courses attended will add towards your Continual Professional Development (CPD) with EMLAS. When booking your course please be sure to quote your EMLAS number.

We hope you will enjoy the wide range of courses available and take advantage of this offer. Visit the Unipolwebsite to see what opportunities are available.

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NLA Campaign Alert: Do you have LHA Tenants?

The government opposition has asked for the views of PRS landlords on housing benefit reform … and the Residential Landlords Association is teaming up with the British Property Federation to make sure they get a representative picture.

Which means … we, again, need the help of landlords who have LHA tenants.

It’s part of a factfinding operation before the Welfare Reform Bill is expected to go before Parliament on January 17th.

The Labour Party and housing charities are keen to gather as much evidence as possible, on the effect of reforms, to counter stories of over generous payments and landlords being forced to lower rents.

Meanwhile the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Douglas Alexander, and Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions, Karen Buck, have asked if landlords could be specifically surveyed on housing benefit reform.

So, if you have LHA tenants, that’s where you come in. Please follow this link it doesn’t take long and your input would be invaluable.

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Carbon Monoxide Kills

Carbon monoxide kills about 50 people each year in the UK and causes 200 cases of recorded non-fatal injury (Health Protection Agency).

As a landlord, you are responsible for the safety of your tenants. As such you need to be aware of the dangers and guard against any signs of carbon monoxide in your properties.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Inhaling the gas reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, leaving the body’s organs and cells starved of oxygen.

Common sources of carbon monoxide in the home include faulty central heating systems, gas appliances and fires. Blocked flues and chimneys mean the gas can not escape and is inhaled by any unsuspecting occupants.

Even though you can’t see, taste or smell carbon dioxide, there are a number of signs that you can identify which show that appliances are not burning properly, resulting in the production of CO. These include yellow or brown staining on and around fossil fuelled appliances, rising condensation around windows and yellow-tinged pilot lights that frequently blow out.

If you think a gas appliance is faulty,
VENTILATE - open doors and windows
CONTACT a gas safe engineer to check the appliance.

In an emergency call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999.

In a court of law, a landlord would need to demonstrate that they had taken all reasonable steps to ensure a tenants’ safety and prove that any gas work met all applicable regulations and responsibilities detailed in The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations

Measures you can take against carbon monoxide exposure include:

  • Ensure all installation pipe work, appliances, and flues provided is safely maintained
  • Anyone carrying out work on a gas appliance must be competent and registered with Gas Safe
  • Gas appliances should not be placed in sleeping accommodation areas or cellars.
  • Make sure an annual safety check is carried out on each appliance and/or flue provided
  • Keep a record of each safety check for two years and issue a copy to your tenant before they move in or as each check is completed
  • Ensure any gas equipment left by previous tenants is safe or otherwise removed
  • Establish clear lines of responsibility for safety checks etc with any managing agent employed
  • Use only Gas Safe registered installers
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Make sure you get a CO alarm that has Kitemark approval and is approved to the latest British & European Standard, that’s BSEN50291.

Note: Using Carbon Monoxide alarms is not the solution to the problem and you should not neglect the other simple measures that you can take to ensure your safety

Further information on gas safety and carbon monoxide can be found at the Gas Safe website.

Help make your tenants aware of the symptoms and dangers by displaying our Tenant information sheet in your properties.

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Accredited Landlords can receive extra insurance benefits

Together NetRent.co.uk and Towergate have developed an exclusive offer for Accredited Landlords. NetRent will arrange your insurance in the usual way, offering each Accredited Landlord the best policy at the best possible price. Once the Accredited Landlord is happy with their quotation they will be offered a choice of one of 3 add-ons completely free of charge . The Landlord decides which add-on they would like.

Landlords can choose one of the following add-ons at no extra cost:
- Property Emergency Cover
- Property Owners Legal Cover
- Towergate Assist Loss Recovery Insurance

The offer of a free add-on is only available to Landlords who are members of a recognised Local Authority Accredited/Responsible Landlord Scheme.

NetRent.co.uk is one of the largest introducers of Landlord insurance in the UK. Their business partners are the Towergate Partnership, Europe's largest independent insurance brokers. Together they already arrange insurance for thousands of Landlords every year. NetRent arrange Landlord buildings insurance, contents, emergency cover and rent and legal protection for Landlords throughout the UK.

For further information please contact Sean Kearns 01352 721300, or use the Contact NetRent.co.uk form.

Note: EMLAS does not endorse products and services, but at times may bring to your notice services which may be of benefit or interest to landlords.

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New timetable for Local Housing Allowance Changes

In the June 2010 Budget, the Government set out a range of proposals aimed at curbing Housing Benefit expenditure that will be introduced between 2011 and 2013. These are:

  • the removal of the five bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate so that the maximum level is for a four bedroom property.
  • the introduction of absolute caps so that Local Housing Allowance weekly rates cannot exceed £250 for a one bedroom property; £290 for a two bedroom property; £340 for a three bedroom property; £400 for a four bedroom property.
  • the removal of £15 weekly Housing Benefit excess that some customers can receive under the Local Housing Allowance arrangements.
  • to include an additional bedroom within the size criteria used to assess Housing Benefit claims in the private rented sector where a disabled person, or someone with a long term health condition, has a proven need for overnight care and this is provided by a non-resident carer.
  • setting Local Housing Allowance rates at the 30th percentile of rents in each Broad Rental Market Area rather than the median.

The Government announced on 30 November that is it changing the timetable for implementing changes to Local Housing Allowance rates.

New claimants from April 2011: The caps and the reduction in Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile will now both come into force in April 2011 for new claimants.

Existing claimants: Existing claimants will be exempt for up to 9 months from the date their claim is reviewed by their local authority. This will allow them time to adjust any reduction in entitlement and in practice mean many existing claimants will not be affected by the changes until after January 2012.

The government has also indicated that it will be giving discretionary powers for local authorities to make direct payments to landlords in return for reducing their rents.

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Important update: temporary refusal of applications to the Warm Front Scheme

The Warm Front Scheme is a Government funded project which installs insulation and heating measures in homes, where oil central heating or alternative low carbon technologies are recommended. Many landlords have taken advantage of the loans available to upgrade draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation and other measures to aid energy efficiency in the home.

Warm Front has issued a statement that funding for this year has now been fully allocated due to high levels of demand for the scheme. As a result they are no longer able to accept new applications for the scheme in this financial year.

This is only a temporary measure. The scheme will accept new applications at a given date after 1 April 2011 when a new budget is in place.

All existing applications to Warm Front that have been approved will be honored and, as far as possible, works will be completed by the end of March 2011. All existing installations will continue to be serviced for two years from installation through the aftercare service provided by Warmsure.

If you have made an application to Warmfront recently and not heard back yet, then you will need to reapply when the scheme is given new funding in April 2011.

Updates regarding Warmfront services will be posted on the www.direct.gov.uk/warmfront when available.

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How to prevent becoming a victim of metal theft

The East Midlands area has seen a dramatic rise in metal thefts in recent months. Metals like copper and lead are being taken from inside empty properties or from roofs, and tools and implements are being taken from premises. Most of this type of crime is easily prevented by taking simple precautions:

  • Conduct a "recce" of your premises – especially the external areas and the fabric of the building.
  • Lock garages, sheds, gates and doors.
  • Consider ground anchors to secure large metal items inside such sheds.
  • Remove or padlock and chain any ladders, beer kegs, wheelbarrows, shopping trolleys, wheelie bins, etc. Wheelie bins are increasingly being used to transport stolen metal.
  • Ensure that any tools you may have are etched with your personal details and are kept out of public view when not in use. When stored away, ensure they are locked and they are not kept in vehicles overnight.
  • Remove easy means of access onto building roofs, such as water butts, wheelie bins and any other such object near to the building.
  • Prune back or remove entirely overhanging shrubs that could act as a climbing aid or provide a screen to hide criminal activity.
  • Use anti-vandal paint above two metres high – together with a warning notice. Such paint can be used on drainpipes, roof guttering, etc. to "target harden" your property.
  • Property mark and photograph metal items (including unusual and high value metal items such as statues, garden urns, seats and fountains), in order to aid identification if they are stolen.
  • Establish good house-keeping rules to challenge those attempting to impersonate authorised persons gaining access.
  • Consider installing a 'bells only' intruder alarm, or upgrading to a central station monitoring system to warn off intruders.
  • Businesses could consider installing a CCTV system with a minimum seven day, real time recording facility.
  • Ensure that your security lighting works, especially during long winter nights.

Report any suspicious behaviour to the police. In an emergency or when you see the crime is actually taking place, telephone 0345 113 5000 and ask for your local police station.

People who steal rely upon other people buying the stolen goods to make their crime worthwhile. People who buy stolen property are responsible for motivating and encouraging thieves and burglars. This is why it is a serious crime to knowingly buy stolen goods. Clusters of crime like the ones in this area can indicate that someone nearby is actively buying stolen items.
Have you been offered stolen property?
Who buys stolen property in this area?

If you have any information about the trade in stolen goods, please contact your local police station or ring Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.

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Dates for your diary……..

  • 26th January 2011 Bassetlaw District Council Landlord Forum 2-4pm – Queens Building, Peel Street, S80 2AH contact
  • 27th January 2011. The Ropewalk, Barton, Humber. Produce renewable energy and make money at the same time -The Humber Housing Partnership and the Energy Saving Trust. For more details contact
  • 27th January 2011. NLA Leicester branch meeting – open to all landlords. There will be 2 sessions for this meeting to accommodate all landlords. 1-4pm and repeated from 6-9pm at the Brook Westfield House Hotel, Enderby Road, Blaby, Leicester, LE8 4GD. For more information contact the NLA.
  • 10th February 2011. Nottingham & Derby NLA branch meeting. 7pm, Novotel, Jacquard room, Bostock Lane, Long Eaton NG10 4EP. For more information contact the NLA.
  • 24th February 2011. Private Sector Landlords Forum at The Town Hall, Foster Avenue, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1AB. 6:30pm until 9pm. Open to all landlords with properties in the Broxtowe and Rushcliffe areas. Contact Deborah Bloomfield .
  • 3rd March 2011. Landlord Exchange. 6-8pm in the Council Chamber, North West Leicestershire, District Council, Council Offices, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3FJ. contact . 10th March 2011. Landlord Forum. 2pm at the Atkin Building, Lower Bond Street, Hinkley LE10 1QU. To book you place ring Helen Wheeldon on 01455 255 816 or Laura Smith on 01455 255871.
  • 17th March 2011. Sherwood Area Landlord Forum. Ashfield District Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire NG17 8DA. Time TBC. To find out more about this event, contact Jacqui Harvey or Sarah Wyville on 01623 457261 or 01623 457238.
  • 23rd March 2011. Landlord Forum, 4-6pm. City of Lincoln Council, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln LN1 1DE. Contact:Lyndsay Morris 01522 873873.
  • 23rd March 2011. Derby Landlord Forum, 11.30-5pm. University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby DE22 1GB. Register your interest in attending with .
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