Monthly Archives: November 2012

Landlord’s Could be Responsible for Tenant’s Unpaid Water Charges

As a result of recent changes to the law, landlords could find themselves with the bill for any unpaid water charges if they fail to inform the utility company of a tenant’s details.

Up until recently, a tenant’s arrears with any of the utilities (water, electricity, gas or telephone) had not been a concern of the landlord. The contract for the supply is directly between the legal occupier and the supplier, and the letting agreement should state clearly that the tenant is responsible, so the landlord is invariably in the clear.

This has always been the case until now (with the exception of houses in multiple occupation, HMOs, where the landlord is always responsible for utilities supplies to the property and is expected to recover from the individual tenants).

Following the introduction of the Water Industry Act 1999, water utilities companies, are no longer able to cut off supplies to those in arrears, essentially removing the only threat they had for non-payment.

This has lead to increasing concerns from the water utilities companies who are faced with ever increasing debts from tenants, especially when landlords fail or refuse to notify them of tenants’ details.

Following Ofwat and government reviews on how water charges are to be collected, and specifically over this landlord issue, the recommendations have now lead to changes in the law under Part 2, s45 (1-3) of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which came into force in October 2012.

These changes mean that a landlord who fails to notify the water company of a tenant’s details will become jointly and severally liable with their tenants for overdue water charges.

Landlords should always inform via telephone, or preferably in writing, all the utilities suppliers of the tenants’ full details when a new tenancy starts. Likewise, when a tenancy ends, the landlord should again inform the utilities companies, providing a forwarding address for the tenants whenever possible.

ARLA Reports Demand for Rentals Outstripping Supply

The Association of Residential Letting Agents, ARLA, has reported that demand for quality properties to rent is still firmly outstripping supply. According to a survey of ARLA members, more than 58% are still reporting a significant gap between supply and demand; 3% more that their December 2011 survey. Compared to three months ago, the national… Continue Reading

Which? Guide to Buy to Let for Retirement

Increasing numbers of retirees are becoming landlords and relying on income from letting out property to boost their retirement finances. According to BM Solutions, a specialist buy to let mortgage provider, 80% of landlords view letting out property as a supplementary source of income to their pension and around 60% are actively planning to live… Continue Reading

Repairs Charter

Nottingham City Homes, who run the city’s council houses, has recently signed up to a new national repairs charter. City Homes director of property services Mark Johnson said: “By signing up to this charter we are showing our customers that we want to aim for the best possible repairs service.” The charter, developed by the… Continue Reading

LandlordZONE – A Great Resource for all Landlords

LandlordZONE is a comprehensive online resource for landlords, tenants and property professionals. The website gives access to an on-line community with a Forum, News, Blogs and RSS feeds. It also provides free access to information, resources and suppliers of value to residential and commercial landlords, tenants, letting agents, property managers and other property professionals. Access… Continue Reading

Number of BTL Mortgages Hits All Time High!

Official figures have revealed that Britain is currently issuing the largest number of buy to let mortgages since records began, with one in eight mortgages now being a buy-to-let loan. There are 11.3 million mortgages in this country, of which 1.44 million are buy-to-let loans. Ten years ago, there were only 275,500 buy-to-let loans, equal to… Continue Reading

BTL Investments Up in Q3

The number of buy-to-let loans rose in the third quarter (Q3) of 2012.  Research from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) revealed that in the three months to September there was a 2% rise in the number of loans that were advanced, a total of 34,400 mortgages were approved. Accordingly, letting agencies may have noted a rise… Continue Reading

Rising Number of Landlords using the Internet to Find Tenants

The habits of house-hunters have changed with the advent of the internet, and websites such as rightmove and Zoopla.  Indeed, around 90% of people begin their search for a new home online! It is no surprise, therefore, that landlords advertising on these sites secure tenants quickly and minimise any void period. Online letting agents are… Continue Reading

Letting Agents in London Suffer after Summer of Sport

According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the end of the summer is traditionally a busy time for new tenancies as prospective tenants take advantage of warmer weather and longer evenings to search for properties. The number of new rental agreements is also usually boosted by the start of graduate job programmes in… Continue Reading