BELVOIR! YORK NEWSLETTER Giving you the latest legal updates, information for landlords and g...
BELVOIR! YORK NEWSLETTER
Giving you the latest legal updates, information for landlords and general letting agency advice.
Mould and Condensation!
What? Condensation is caused when warm air hits a cold surface and results in water vapour. This in turn is the ideal situation for bacteria or ‘mould’ spores to form resulting in the all too familiar black growth. Whilst an issue for other reasons It is worth noting that it is very unlikely that rising or penetrating damp is the cause of mould as it cannot grow in these conditions.
How? Our lifestyles contribute to condensation daily, when we bath or shower the vapour needs to be let out or it will hang around in the atmosphere.
Boiling pans, drying towels or clothes inside,
breathing- the installation of double glazing and UPVC in older properties has made this problem worse in the short term.
Not allowing a flow of air around the room, i.e. wardrobes, cupboards etc. pressed up against walls with no gap will find that they become trouble spots for mould to grow. Sometimes lack of insulation can be a substantial cause, however, most properties these days do have correct insulation, if this is a problem there are many schemes still around that mean a landlord could apply for a grant to help with the cost of this. Better Homes Yorkshire are currently offering some.
Adequate heating and ventilation are usually the best way to deal with this. There should be heating available in every room that can reach temperatures of between 19-21 degrees.
Air bricks, extractor fans and windows need to be used correctly, if you have a room with no escape then the problem will just exacerbate. It can seem counterproductive to put the heating on and open a window, however, that is what is required.
Don’t dry clothes inside or over a radiator and
cover pans when cooking.
Solutions? If the cause of the mould is found to be structural then there are things you can do to the property. Have a look at Envirovent website, talk to your Housing Standards dept., or ask a reputable damp surveyor for an independent assessment.
Legionella Risk Assessment
Another way to scam money out of landlords or a justifiable danger? There have been few recent changes that have as much confusion as this one. Why do we need an assessment? Who can do it? How much will it cost? Firstly, the risk is very small, but because Legionnaires is such a nasty disease and often fatal the government have decided that the PRS could be responsible for the spread of the bacteria by the water systems in their let properties. The next confusion is who is qualified to carry out a risk assessment? This is way easier than most letting agents would have you believe, a 'competent' person can do an assessment, and would need only the most basic training and equipment. Based on this, we at Belvoir believe that the assessment should be FREE, part of the service we offer to landlords, most other agents are now charging in excess of £80 for each visit. This is ridiculous as each property only needs an assessment to see if it requires certification, the majority of houses do not. It is the certification that requires specialist knowledge, testing and equipment
Right to Rent: Are Landlords going to be at risk of being criminalised?
From the 1st February 2016 Landlords and Agents will have to check that their tenant has a legal right to live in the UK. We are still waiting to find out what will happen if a current tenant is found to not have the right to live here.
For example, if a Landlord found out he had such a tenant and started eviction proceedings they would have to use a specific ground or they would not be exempt from being prosecuted on housing the tenant. Of course if the landlord tries to evict the tenant in the incorrect manner they will then be acting against the Housing Act 1988.
It is becoming a bit of a minefield but you can be assured that Belvoir York has been carrying out these checks since opening and will be following the story very closely to update all our landlords when necessary.
Stamp duty to be increased for Buy to Let Landlords to 3% from April 2016. For the average BTL of £184,000 that means they will pay an extra £5,520.
For advice on this and other relevant news items, please visit our website: www.belvoir.co.uk