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Caerphilly Private Landlord Forum - did you miss it?  Read our latest "Newsletter"
The Chairman opened the forum and welcomed everyone and thanked them for their continued support.  

Greg Rowland then informed the forum and paid tribute to Rosemary Ferrand a landlord and an avid supporter of the forum who had recently and sadly passed away.

Paula Holland,  Welfare Reform Leader from the Welsh Local Government Association was our first speaker of the evening.
Paula gave a summary of "Universal Credit" and explained that the six main working age benefits will be replaced by one monthly payment known as Universal Credit.  This will be paid monthly in a single payment to a household rather than an individual and it is for people "in work" and "out of work".
The roll-out assumptions are that from now until the end of 2017 onwards everyone including singles, families and couples will be receiving UC.  Caerphilly will go live with single JSA Claimants between May and July this year.


Paula reassured members that there will be plenty of help and advice to tenants to assist them with getting used to receiving monthly payments.  
Landlords at the forum were conc
erned about payments to tenants who were in arrears.  Paula highlighted the new "Alternative Pay
ment  Arrangements" whereby there is provision for rent to be paid direct to the landlord if a tenant is more than eight weeks arrears as is now.  The difference, however, is that Tenants now need to help themselves when they are granted "Alternative Payment Arrangements" because this will not be a permanent arrangement.  They will be continually assessed and monitored to move them back onto receiving their monthly UC direct.

Paula finished her presentation with acknowledging that in order for Landlords to prepare for UC they will have to get to know Tenants better.  Start to understand their needs and what barriers they may face.
Questions were raised;
DHP's - these would still be available, however, with a limited budget and if awarded paid calendar monthly.  The Claimant would have to take a rent statement to their first interview with their work coach and calculated accordingly.
Paying Landlords Direct - Eight week arrears is currently the only way a tenant can get "Alternative Payment Arrangements"
Bank Accounts - All tenants in receipt of UC will have to have a basic bank account.

You can find Paula's presentation on our website
http://caerphillyprivatelandlords.co.uk/?p=698

LANDLORD ACCREDITATION WALES

Donna Elliott closed the meeting stating that out of the 34 landlords in attendance 5 had not attended a forum previously.  Donna thanked them for their attendance and hoped that they found the evening informative and that they would continue to support this event.

Information of future courses were available for those landlords considering accreditation.  For those Landlords/Agents who are accredited a reminder that they have to accumulate 12 CPD points each year and Donna gave out a handout on how you can update your CPD points on-line to your personal account.

Landlords and Agents were encouraged to let Donna assist with applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment for any tenant they have who is claiming Local Housing Allowance but who may be struggling to find their "Top Up" part of their rent!  Their tenant may be entitled to full rent being paid for a period of up to 26 weeks!

 

Lizzie Memory a former Police Officer and now a founder member of "House Wales Lettings" was our second speaker of the evening.  Lizzie wanted to share her experiences and offer another solution to dealing with tenants who display signs of Anti Social Behaviour.

"In 2008 new legislation was introduced making it possible to apply to a court to close a property for up to 3 months that was either causing major anti social behaviour or was involved in the use of class A drugs and had subsequent anti social behaviour.
If you have a very problematic tenant it may be worth considering working with the police and council to apply to close the house as it may be a cheaper and easier option than a eviction.
If you have a nightmare neighbour next to one of your rentals, you could work with the police and council to make statements to help remove them. We have been doing this in Risca with the help of Paul Webber from CCBC and are in the process of removing persons from a neighbouring flat to ours who are making our tenants lives hell."

 

Jocelle Lovell from the Wales Co-operative Centre again a welcome supporter of the Forum and a portfolio landlord herself was on hand to take part in discussions and to assist with answering issues raised.  Jo wanted to share with the forum a new project that they are delivering.

Jo reminded the landlords of the Tackling Homelessness Through Financial Inclusion (THFI) project. The project worked in partnership with CCBC and visited tenants who’s rent was paid directly to the landlord under safeguarding, where appropriate tenants and landlords were encouraged to use the credit union rent account. THFI ended in December 2014, and out new project Your money Your Home (YMYH) funded by Comic Relief in January 2015.
 
YMYH will be working in Newport, Anglesey, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly. Working with PRS tenants to address their unmet support needs, and promote more sustainable tenancies through better money management.
 
Both findings from THFI and YMYH are used to influence changes in policy and practice at a local and national level. Greg & Lyndsay Rowlands are members of the projects steering group, and sit along side DWP, WLGA to name a few. This way we can feed real every day experiences of landlords directly to government departments.
 
Jo also asked for volunteers to take part in a focus group, (a one off session at the end of June date TBC) to review the moneymadeclearwales.org website and look how it can be developed to support both landlords and tenants. Three volunteers came forward on the night It was agreed that if anyone else is interested they would contact Donna who would pass on their contact details.

DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES

Our next landlord forum will be held on Monday 20th July 2015 at 6.00pm, Ty Penallta Council Offices, Ystrad Mynach.

A reminder that our website is currently being updated keep checking the website for current information regarding the private rented sector.
www.caerphillyprivatelandlords

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