Advice for private landlords

Update COVID-19

The government passed legislation on 26 March 2020 that prevents eviction proceedings for a three-month period. Landlords have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession.

Meanwhile, landlords are protected by a three-month mortgage payment holiday where they have buy-to-let mortgage.

Landlords remain legally obligated to ensure properties meet the required standard – urgent, essential health and safety repairs should be made. A reasonable extension can be agreed for non-urgent repairs.

Please click here for the latest government advice for renters and landlords in the context of coronavirus.

If you are a renter and are experiencing issues paying your rent, discuss this with your landlord and also contact Housing Advice on (0191) 643 2520 or email: housing.advice@northtyneside.gov.uk

Alternatively you may wish to seek advice from Shelter or Citizens  Advice 

Rights and responsibilities

If you are a landlord or are considering becoming a landlord, it is important you know where to access trusted information about your rights and responsibilities.

If this is the first time you've rented out a property, the link below contains some useful advice:

Renting out your property - landlord responsibilities  

If you are unsure about your responsibilities as a landlord or have any other enquiries email the Housing Strategy Team at Private.Landlords@northtyneside.gov.uk

Health and safety

We all have a right to live in good quality housing - homes that are wind and weather tight, warm and fitted with reasonably modern facilities. The Decent Homes Standard sets out a variety of conditions.  We encourage all landlords to work to ensure housing in the private sector achieves at least these standards

To be classed as a decent home, a property must meet the following criteria:

Meet the current legal minimum standard for housing

All houses should be free of what are termed 'category one' hazards - those which are most likely to cause an accident and result in serious harm in line with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System

Be in a reasonable state of repair

Key building components should be in good condition. If they are old and in need of repair or replacement, then the property is not decent. Key components include:

external walls
the roof and/or chimney
windows and doors
central heating boilers, gas fires or storage heaters
plumbing system
electrics

Have reasonably modern facilities and services

A house is considered non - decent if it has three or more of the following:

a kitchen which is 20 years old or more
a kitchen with inadequate space and layout
a bathroom which is 30 years old or more
an inappropriately located bathroom and toilet
inadequate noise insulation
inadequate size and layout of common entrance areas if it is in a block of flats

Provide a reasonable degree of warmth

All houses should have efficient heating and effective insulation. It should have one of the following:

gas or oil programmable central heating
electric storage heaters
warm air system
under-floor system
programmable LPG/solid fuel central heating
similarly efficient heating system developed in the future

 

 

 

 

 

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Further health and safety guidance

Information about your legal responsibility to keep gas appliances in safe working order is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

Information about electrical safety obligations is available from the Electrical Safety Council

Other useful sites

DASH Landlord Library

NRLA Safe and Secure Home Check

National Residential Landlords Association

GOV.UK Rented Housing

 

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

On the 20th March 2019, the Fitness for Human Habitation Act came into force for tenancies in England. This legislation amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 so that landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and then maintain this standard throughout the time the tenant lives in the property.

Guidence in relation to a landlords responsibilities under the act can be found below:

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

Tenancy agreements

Having a signed tenancy agreement will make it easier to deal with any disputes, should they arise. Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common type. You can get tenancy agreements from most stationery suppliers.  More information is available and model agreements on the gov.uk website:

Tenancy agreements - a guide for landlords (England and Wales)

Model agreement assured shorthold tenancy

Agree your property's condition and an inventory of contents

The tenancy agreement should also include an inventory of all contents and their condition as well as the general condition of the décor and maintenance. Clear dated photographs of rooms, floor coverings, doors and windows should be used to establish this. The inventory should be checked and agreed by the tenant at the time of viewing. When the tenancy comes to an end, the inventory list can be used to decide how much of a tenant's deposit, if anything, will be returned.

Deposit or bond

Any deposit you take from a tenant must be protected through one of three government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes:

My Deposits
The Deposit Protection Service
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
 

Proof of this should be given to the tenant within two weeks of taking the deposit.

Help to maintain tenancies and finding new tenants

Before you serve a notice to quit why not contact the councils Housing Advice Team who can:  

Help to create a personalised housing plan agreed with the tenant.
Rent arrears assistance through Housing benefit services, Universal credit, local government homeless prevention funds and charities.
A financial assessment of tenants to maximise income to help ensure success moving forward.
Referrals and signposting to specialist services for more long-term support if needed
A mediation service between landlords, tenants and Local authorities.

If you would like more information please contact Repossession and Private Rented Officer on 0191 6432520 or email Housing.Advice@northtyneside.gov.uk.

What happens if the tenant won't leave?

You can't forcibly remove your tenants without an eviction order. Once the notice period is up you can start an eviction process through the courts.

Avoiding harassment and / or illegal eviction

Harassing tenants to leave and/or not following the correct eviction process is a criminal offence as detailed in the Protection from Eviction Act. Anyone who is harassed or illegally evicted can claim damages through the civil court. The Police could also become involved if a tenant is physically assaulted.

A landlord should not:

  • use threats or physical violence to get anyone to leave their accommodation
  • attempt to force anyone to leave their home or lock them out 
  • withdraw gas, electric or water supplies 
  • persistently disturb the tenant in their accommodation 
  • interfere with a tenant’s personal belongings
  • enter the property without the permission of the tenant and without giving reasonable notice.

There's more information on the gov.uk website:

Evicting tenants - the rules you must follow (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

The right to rent

From 1 February 2016, the Government introduced new laws saying that private landlords have to check that anyone they have a rental agreement with, has the right to be in the country.

If you are a tenant yourself, and you sublet all, or part of the property, then you must make these checks.

Within 28 days before the start of the tenancy, you must make checks for:

  • people aged 18 and over living in your property, whether they're named in the tenancy agreement or not
  • all types of tenancy agreement, written or oral

You can be fined up to £3,000 for renting your property to someone who isn't allowed to rent property in England.

Find out more:

Private rented sector code of practice

A code of practice has been produced for landlords and agents in the private rented sector. It sets out your legal requirements.

It's a voluntary code but a number of organisations support it. This means that if you are a member of any of the organisations which have signed up to the code, you should follow it.

To find out which organisations support the code and to look at the code itself, visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Complaining about a lettings or property management agency

From 1 October 2014, agencies that let or manage private rented accommodation on behalf of a landlord must belong to a government approved redress scheme for dealing with complaints.

If you have a complaint which hasn't been resolved using the agency's own complaints procedure, you can complain to the scheme that the agency belongs to.

There are three approved schemes:

Housing benefit advice for landlords

Visit our Housing benefit section for advice.

House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property which is let to at least five tenants who form more than one household and who share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities. Please click here for further information on HMOs from our  Environmental Health Team.

 

Deposit Guarantee Scheme

Our Deposit Guarantee Scheme was established to help people who are looking for accommodation in the private rented sector.  The scheme offers landlords:

  • A paper bond on commencement of a tenancy as an alternative to national deposit schemes
  • Advice on changes in law and upcoming regulation
  • Handle all the paperwork including inventory
  • Free tenancy agreement
  • Mediation in any disputes to support you and the tenants to sustain the tenancy

If you would like more information please contact Repossession and Private Rented Officer on 0191 6432520 or email Housing.Advice@northtyneside.gov.uk.

Landlord Forum and Training

How the council facilitate our landlord forum and training courses is currently under review in response to current guidance. In the interim we continue to work with partners to offer regular updates:

National Residential Landlords Association- North East Update

The regional representatives of the NRLA are facilitating a webinar on the key issues affecting you as a landlord in the North East on the 21st July 7pm -8pm, this will feature: 

Legislative update & guidance
Possessions ban extension
Selective licensing update
Tax & Finance update 

Plus your chance to have your questions answered from an expert panel: 

Helen Lyne, Executive Associate Solicitor, Archers Law
George Hardey, Head of Tax, Waltons Clark Whitehill
John Forth & Rob Johnsone, Regional Representatives, NRLA

 Register via the following link. Registration is free and open to all:

National Residential Landlords Association- North East Update

Contact Us

If you would like to receive regular updates about changes in legislation, training opportunities, appropriate consultations and North Tyneside Private Landlords Forum please email Private.Landlords@northtyneside.gov.uk

Any personal information which is shared with the team will be used by us to deliver the help you have requested. All personal information provided is used in line with North Tyneside Councils Privacy Notice.

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