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Caerphilly Private Landlord Forum - did you miss it?  Read our latest "Newsletter"
The second forum of the year was held on Monday 28th April.  The Chairman Greg Rowlands welcomed landlords and agents to the forum and thanked them for their attendance.  Six new landlords joined us and at the end of the evening they commented that they had found the evening very informative and a worthwhile experience.  This "Newsletter" is produced to provide a summary of the evening.

NUAIRE   -  Kassie Williams, Sales Engineer from Nuaire was our first speaker of the night!

Kassie gave her presentation on the problems and causes of mould growth in properties which can be a major headache for most landlords.  Mould growth is classed as a Category 1 hazard as part of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and landlords could face a notice being served by an EHO if this hazard is found in one or any of their properties.  This topic generated some discussion and it was noted that tenants need to be educated in ways in which they can reduce condensation and the causes of mould growth.  
Kassie then went on to promote "Nuaire's" product "Positive Input Ventilation" which is a low energy ventilation systems to cure condensation dampness and removes allergens and pollutants from the home.  The various systems of Drimasters and Flatmasters were discussed and Kassie was on hand to discuss any issues at the end of the meeting. 
For more information visit Nuaire website www.nuaire.co.uk or contact Kassie direct on 02920 811942

 EDF Energy gave a presentation on their goods and services.  They provide Gas & Electricity to around 5.5 million residential and business customers.  EDF Energy provide an ECO boiler scheme which was discussed.  One of the main criticisms from Landlords was highlighted "when tenants have signed up to an ECO scheme with another supplier the supplier will only deal with the tenant (the occupier) and not the Landlord (the owner)".  EDF Energy confirmed that they will deal with Landlords on any matter relating to Home Energy Saving Improvements.  To find out more about EDF Energy and their ECO scheme log onto www.edfenergy.com

Landlord Accreditation Wales

Donna gave out dates and venues of courses to be run to become accredited with LAW.

Donna also spoke about Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP's) Landlords were asked if they have any tenant receiving Housing Benefit who are struggling to find their top up part of their rent to let her know.  Donna would be happy to complete a form with the tenant and assist in applying for a DHP which is an additional payment made by Housing Benefit for a period of 13 to 26 weeks.
CAERPHILLY PRIVATE LANDLORD WEBSITE

In addition to this "Newsletter" there are a number of articles and information posted on our website!  Click here to log onto our website caerphillyprivatelandlords.co.uk.  Read about the latest information on the responsibility for Landlords and Agents to check immigration status of tenants!!

 

Liz Davies from Libra Investment Properties was our next speaker of the evening.

Liz addressed the forum and re-iterated how important it was to carry out proper checks on tenants prior to offering a tenancy.  Landlords should ensure that a prospective tenant provides proper identification and their national insurance number.  Liz drew on her experience as an Agent and Landlord and felt that it is often the case that Landlords are sometimes complacent when selecting tenants and do not carry out in depth checks.  If a tenant wants to move in quickly, offers up front rent ask yourself why?  Why are they in a rush?  Liz advised Landlords to step back and consider checking social media sites as a way of finding out about a person (not their financial background) their lifestyle it could save the Landlord a lot of stress later.

Tenancy Agreements were discussed.  It is of paramount importance that agreements are drafted correctly - Liz suggested they look at the NLA website as they provide a good example of an agreement.
Tenancy Deposit Schemes - Liz asked the forum if they all used either a custodial or insured Deposit Protection Service and advised Landlords and Agents to read the small print regarding disputes etc.

Liz confirmed that she was not a Solicitor, however, has a wealth of experience in Landlord and Tenant issues and offered her services to anyone who needed guidance or advice.

 

Our last speaker's of the evening were a double act from CCBC!!
Sue Cousins - Principal Housing Officer (Housing Portfolio)
and Dave Thomas - Senior Policy Officer (Equalities and Welsh Language)

Sue updated the forum on the latest news regarding the "Housing Bill".  The need for Landlords and Agents to be licensed and thereafter accredited was discussed.  Sue referred everyone to the Welsh Governments Website for further updated information.  The new Homelessness legislation was briefly mentioned and Sue stated that from April 2015 The Authority will be able to discharge their duty to find accommodation for homeless persons in the private rented sector.

Dave Thomas spoke about the Equalities Act 2010 and the fact that the legislation is being put into action differently in Wales.  He linked it to how important it should be for Landlords and Agents to find out extra information about a tenant prior to awarding a tenancy.  Landlords and Agents for example would need to know what form of communication techniques a tenant would need or prefer.  This information could prove crucial when trying to dissolve a tenancy for example.  Dave suggested that a simple tick box form be completed and signed by the Landlord and Tenant and kept with the tenancy agreement.  The form should include information such as - How would you prefer to receive contact - by text, letter, telephone etc.

Dave gave an example of how this could prove vital.  You have a problem with a tenant and you write to them and they seem to ignore it, and you then proceed to serving a notice and subsequent court proceedings to seek possession.  If at the hearing the Judge discovered that the tenant could not read English easily for example, the case could be dismissed and it would have cost the Landlord a lot of stress, money and time.  If such information was known first of course, this could have been avoided!

Dave is developing a guidance document that includes the legal background, an existing legal case, some practical examples, a tick box form and contact details for voluntary sector support where landlords or tenants may need more specialist advice.  The draft will be online soon and you can send any comments or suggestions about it to Dave at equalities@caerphilly.gov.uk.  It will then be published later in the year.
 
DATE OF NEXT FORUM

Date for your diaries!   Our next landlord forum is scheduled for sometime in July 2014 at Ty Penallta Council Offices starting at 6.00pm.  Keep checking the website for information.
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