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New training and guidance on smart meters for HMOs

Managing energy use and energy bills can be one of the most challenging issues in HMOs.

Between now and 2020, smart meters for gas and electricity will be offered to all households – what will this mean for HMOs?

 

Future Climate, a small not for profit consultancy  is working together with Smart Energy GB and National Energy Action to improve energy efficiency of the UK’s building stock.  The aim is to produce guidance on smart meters for HMO landlords and tenants as well as for council officers working with HMOs.

They will be present at series of events in London, the West Midlands and the North West to raise awareness of this with landlords and council officers.

New Guidance materials – for HMO tenants, landlords and council officers:

Available from: http://futureclimate.org.uk/smart-meters/

Events for HMO landlords:

These are free events where you can find out about what smart meters mean for you and your rented properties:

7:00-8:30pm, Wednesday 7th December: Manchester Landlords’ Smart Meter Meeting

Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre, 25 Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3AE

7:00-8:30pm, Tuesday 13th December: West Midlands Landlords’ Smart Meter Meeting

Crowne Plaza Solihull 61, Homer Road, Solihull, B91 3QD

For more details or to register please email the organisers through the above link.

Future Climate is holding this event as part of a national information programme to raise awareness of the smart meter roll-out with Smart Energy GB.

Posted by / December 2, 2016 / Posted in News
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Gas regs consultation

Richard Price has been working with The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and others, on possible changes to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.

Currently, safety inspections need to be completed within 12 months of the previous check. With it being a criminal offense to go even a single day over, many landlords start the process of seeking access for the engineer 6 – 8 weeks ahead. This has the effect of “re-setting the clock” on the day the check is actually completed, so the expiration date creeps earlier every year. The consultation seeks views on adopting a preserved expiration date, if the inspection is completed at any stage within the two months prior to expiration, similar to how vehicle MOTs are done.  Such a change will allow landlords to plan visits in good time which will aid compliance, without effectively taking a financial hit for having done so. It is envisaged that whilst landlords can certainly benefit from the changes, those that don’t wish to take advantage will remain compliant if they simply continue as the current regulations specify.

 

Please note, no change in the law has occurred as yet, this is a consultation which closes on 27th January 2017. If you would like to support the change affording more flexibility, please complete the consultation at;http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd280.htm

Posted by / November 15, 2016 / Posted in News
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Prosecution result in council’s biggest landlord case

A landlord has been ordered to pay £29,220 in fines and costs after being prosecuted for 56 offences in what is Sheffield City Council’s biggest case against a rogue landlord.

John Mark Cashin, age 47 of Over Lane in Baslow, was found guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 8 November.

Cashin had already been prosecuted by the council last November for 27 offences and ordered to pay £7,200.

On Tuesday the court heard:

  • That five properties, on Abbeydale Road, Violet Bank Road, Vincent Road, Fieldhead Road and Glover Road, were all badly managed by Cashin with failure to maintain means of escape and fire alarm systems in all properties and failure to provide copies of Gas Safety and electrical condition reports. Other problems included broken windows, badly fitting external doors and safety defects.
  • All but Vincent Road should have been licensed as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) but no applications were ever received.
  • The council served many notices to Mr Cashin requiring information and documents but they were all ignored.

The Deputy District Judge, Paul Heeley, said that Cashin had been evasive, failed to disclose information and that his evidence was not credible. He said Cashin deliberately set out to avoid his responsibilities and highlighted the seriousness of the offences by saying: “The weakest in society are the ones that suffer ill-health, serious injury and even death through poor housing conditions.”

Speaking after the court case, one former tenant, Yasmin Wong who lived in Cashin’s property on Glover Road for two months earlier this year, said: “The guy ruined my life. It was horrible and the house was a complete disaster – three or four windows were broken so it was completely freezing. And there were times when we had no electricity for three or four days and he didn’t care.

“I was alone and didn’t have anyone in Sheffield or know what to do. In the end I left. It was two months of hell.”

Sheffield City Council has been investigating Cashin for months after concerns about him were first raised by property owners and tenants.

One property owner who used Cashin as a letting agent for a home in Highfield, and wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I entered a yearly contract with him where he’d sub-let the property. He wasn’t paying rent on time and when the year ended and I wanted my house back, he wouldn’t give it and said I’d have to take him to court.

“I got the house back but it costs me thousands of pounds. He knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t pay any bills for the property so was making a fortune. I know he was doing the same to others.

“He’s put me through stress and other problems. But I think I got off lightly compared to other people.”

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said “I want to congratulate officers for their tenacity in bringing this rogue landlord to court again and obtaining this fantastic outcome. Thanks to Cashin, dozens of mainly vulnerable tenants were living in dangerous and inadequate housing and he had a complete disregard to them and their safety.

“This is the biggest case we’ve ever had in terms of the number of offences and sends a strong message to landlords that flout their responsibilities. This is something we’ve put a lot of effort into.

“Good safe affordable housing should be for everyone and it’s landlords like Cashin that give private housing a bad name.

“Sheffield has thousands of really good properties managed by good professional landlords. We will continue to support them and help with problem tenants. But we will also continue to clamp down hard on the few rogue ones like Mr Cashin.”

Sheffield City Council regulates the private rented housing market in Sheffield to make sure tenants are safe and landlords are meeting their legal responsibilities.

Source: http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/prosecution-result-in-councils-biggest-landlord-case/

Posted by / November 14, 2016 / Posted in News
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Network Activity

Network Activity

March 2010

The Steering Group has recently responded to Government on several legislative consultations.

doc-consent

General consents for licensing schemes under Parts 2 and 3 of the Housing Act 2004.

You can read the response here

 

 

 

doc-consent

A guide to the licensing and management provisions in Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Housing Act 2004 – Draft.

You can read the response here

 

 

 

Related PDFs:

Camden Appeal
RPT Decision Fellows RD
RPT Refuse Leave to Appeal

Posted by / April 21, 2016 / Posted in News
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In the news

In the News

Oxford City Council has a city wide additional licensing scheme for all HMOs. They are looking to introduce indicators that demonstrate how the scheme is working. They feel they can demonstrate how the physical characteristics of the buildings have been improved, via the licence conditions, additional amenities, fire protection, repair etc., but want to know what indicators other authorities use to demonstrate an improvement in the management. For instance, a decrease in noise, refuse, pest complaints associated with HMOs, other anti social behaviour indicators and reduction in instances of domestic fires.

If you have information which you are happy to share with please e-mail Paul Fitzgerald at pfitzgerald@oxford.gov.uk

December 2014

New database names and maps private landlords convicted under Housing Act – The Guardian, 17 December 2014

More private renters struggling with horror homes – Citizens Advice, December 2014

October 2014

Owner of flats sentences for serious breaches of Fire Safety Regulations – Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, 13 October 2014

September 2014

Retaliatory evictions could be outlawed – EHN Online, 17 September 2014

Harassment landlord fined £1,000 – EHN Online 10 September 2014

West Midlands to be the first landlord ‘right to rent’ check area – 3 September 2014

10 things you should know about rented homes – EHN Online, 3 September 2014

August 2014

On 8 August 2014 Mr Ghulam Ijaz of Chippinghouse Road, Sheffield and UK Legal Estates Ltd of Wolseley Road, Sheffield were each fined £1,000 for failing to license a property occupied by 10 at Granville Road, Sheffield. The property company, of which Mr Ijaz is a director was also fined a total of £1,000 for bad management at the property and faced Council costs of over £1,000. Victim surcharges added a further £220 to the bill.

The tenants first took tenancies in late September 2013 and they were released from their contracts on 19 December. The landlord was required to supply copies of tenancies by a Section 235 notice and this, together with interview under caution established that the owner of the premises was not involved in the letting of the property.

The property had inadequate facilities for 10 and fire precautions but was only occupied in beach of licensing for 3 months.

Rogue landlord fined £19,000 – EHN Online, 6 August 2014

July 2014

Landlord of ‘shoddy’ property penalised – EHN Online, 23 July 2014

June 2014

Max fines for Eh offences to be quadrupled – EHN Online, 11 June 2014

Posted by / April 21, 2016 / Posted in News
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What’s new?

In these pages we want to be able to keep you up to date with consultations, new guidance, training, development projects, success stories and legal news.

‘In the News’ contains links to articles that have been published elsewhere.

‘Network Activity’ lets you know what the Steering Group has been doing, particularly with any consultations, presentations and partnership working.

Posted by / April 21, 2016 / Posted in News