By accessing our wide range of 24/7 online services
By emailing directly to the relevant service
By phoning First Contact on 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri).
By pre-booked appointment at the Kiln Road office (9.00am to 4.00pm Mon to Fri) - these can be arranged by phoning First Contact on 01268 882200.
This section is designed to give landlords and tenants advice on how to stay safe during the current coronavirus crisis. These are difficult times and we all need to work together to ensure our health, safety and welfare. Whilst there are concerns about our health and how to stop the spread of the virus, many also face financial worries. Please take time to read through the information below to find out more on how to stay safe and financially secure.
Landlord and tenants: If you show any symptoms of COVID-19, you should follow Public Health England advice and self-isolate for seven days, or, if you live with others, the whole household should isolate themselves for 14 days.
Landlords: You should contact your tenants either by email, message or phone call to let them know you are self-isolating and provide advice on who they should contact in the event of an emergency.
If someone is unwell then they should minimise using shared spaces such as kitchen and bathrooms. If they need to access a shared area such as a living room then they should maintain a 2 meter separation distance where possible. Ideally they would not be using dining areas and should have meals in their rooms.
Kitchens and bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after use by anyone exhibiting symptoms. However, these should be cleaned regularly as best practice for the prevention of the spread of disease in general – remember, not everyone who is ill will exhibit symptoms! Drawing up a cleaning rota for cooking and cleaning might be useful. Don’t forget other surfaces such as handrails and door handles and commonly shared items such as remote controls and telephones.
Those who have to self-isolate are being encouraged to work from home but you should be aware that for many occupiers engaged in manual labour this will not be possible and depending on their contractual arrangements they may also be at risk of losing income during this period which will affect their ability to pay rent.
Tenants may experience a period of financial hardship if they have been unable to work. This is something which might be felt for many weeks if not months. The government have already confirmed that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be claimed by those who are eligible and self-isolating, even if they are showing no symptoms. Tenants can obtain the required sick note via NHS 111. To avoid lengthy queues on the telephone you may prefer to use this link NHS Isolation note
We appeal to landlords to be sympathetic to tenants’ financial circumstances and urge both tenants and landlords to find away forward together. Perhaps draw up a payment plan.
If you are a business owner and have concerns over your tax liabilities, then you should seek advice from HMRC and their Time to Pay Scheme HMRC Tax information
If your HMO property is due to have any compliance checks or work carried out, you should delay this if any of your tenants are self-isolating.
This could include:
If you do need to delay any of these legal requirements, inform your tenants that they will be delayed because of a self-isolation period but take steps to re-book checks as soon as possible.
You should notify us of any delays by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01268 882200
Since 1st October 2018 there have been some changes in HMO legislation and the following are now enforced:
The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018 which introduces a tighter regime for the licensing of HMOs and the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Mandatory Conditions of Licences) (England) Regulations 2018.
The new legislation does not apply to sec. 257 HMOs and flats which are larger purpose built blocks. If you are unsure if your property falls within the above, please contact email@example.com for advice
A HMO is a term used to describe accommodation which is shared among a number of people. There are different types of accommodation such as a shared house, converted block of flats and a number of bedsits in one building.
Some HMOs require a licence which is issued by the local authority. Not all HMOs need a licence, there are some exceptions but if you meet the following criteria please contact us as it is highly likely you will need one:
The fee is £840.50 for up to five lettings and will last for a period of 5 years. The fee for each additional letting is £54.33. The form and guidance notes are available here:
An HMO must be suitable for the number of occupants and will take into account the suitability of the landlord or managing agent to manage the HMO.
Conditions of having a HMO
There are several conditions which must be complied with to ensure the HMO remains a safe environment for tenants. You must:
These conditions are not exhaustive and the council can impose selective licensing conditions
In England, unless an Article 4 Direction is in force a change of use from Use Class C4 (a small HMO) to a single house with up to six residents (Use Class C3) is covered by permitted development rights.
Please contact our planning department on 01268 882200 option 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 1 June 2020 and applies to all tenancies created on or after that date in England from 1 July 2020.
As a landlord you must ensure every electrical installation in your residential premises is inspected and tested at intervals of no more than 5 years by a qualified and competent person.
The regulations apply in England to all new specified tenancies from 1 July 2020 and all existing specified tenancies from 1 April 2021. 'New specified tenancies' is any tenancy created on or after 1 June 2020.
Following the inspection and testing, a private landlord must:
Where an Electrical Installation Safety Report identifies urgent remedial work or requires 'further investigation', the private landlord must ensure that the required work is carried out by a qualified and competent person within 28 days (or the period specified in the report if it is less than 28 days), starting with the date of the inspection and testing.
The landlord must then:
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing the new regulations and can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 if they find a landlord is in breach of their duty.
Local authorities have the power to serve remedial notices on private landlords. If the remedial notice is ignored and action is not taken with 28 days, the local authority can arrange remedial work to be carried out with consent from the tenant, and recover the costs from the landlord.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 previously put specific duties on landlords around electrical safety. This requirement has now been repealed, and HMOs are now covered by the new Electrical Safety Regulations.
Any HMO with 5 or more tenants is licensable. The Housing Act 2004 has been amended by these Regulations to require a new mandatory condition in HMO licenses ensuring that every electrical installation in the HMO is in proper working order and safe for continued use.
To read a copy of the legislation, please use this link
For further guidance, please use this link