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BENEFITS UPDATE – MARCH 2015UNIVERSAL CREDIT

This is now live in a number of areas in the North West for both single JSA claimants and families and householders.  Anyone of working age making a new claim to certain state benefits in these areas will apply for Universal Credit.  National Ro


LEGIONELLAYOUR DUTIES AND LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES AS A LANDLORD

Organisations, or self-employed individuals, who provide residential accommodation or who are responsible for the water system(s) in their premises, are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in those premises is properly assesse



PROPERTY REDRESS SCHEME

It is a legal requirement for all lettings agents and property managers in England to belong to one of three approved Government redress schemes from 1 October 2014.


FREE BOILER SCHEME - DOES YOUR TENANT QUALIFY?

Free or Subsidised Gas Boilersfor people who really need them


ENERGY SAVING INFORMATION

The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) was introduced by HMRC to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of let residential properties. It is an allowance for the cost of acquiring and installing certain energy-saving items.


LANDLORDS RIGHTS TO ENTER THEIR TENANT'S PROPERTY

Whether or not a landlord can enter his tenant’s property to carry out inspections, repair work etc even if the tenant is unhappy about this, is a hotly debated issue.


LANDLORDS AND TAX

HMRC is offering a range of support and advice for residential property landlords who want to bring their tax affairs up to date by being offered online training in tax matters. The computer-based tutorials will make it easier for them to understand when


APPROVED REDRESS SCHEME FOR AGENTS

Letting agents have until 1 October 2014 to register with 1 of 3 redress schemes, to ensure tenants and leaseholders have a straightforward option to hold their agents to account.


IMMIGRATION ACT 2014

The Immigration Act 2014 contains a range of measures to reform and streamline the immigration system and address illegal immigration.  It introduces restrictions on illegal immigrants accessing rented housing.


PRE-PAYMENT METERS

A pre-payment meter works on a ‘pay as you go’ basis so that tenants are in control of how much energy they are using. 


AS COURT COSTS RISE WHAT IS THE ACTUAL COST OF GETTING YOUR PROPERTY BACK?

On 22nd April civil court fees rose.  Below are the fees relating to Repossession of a property from a bad tenant.


NORTHUMBRIAN WATER

See below a link to a very handy tool from Northumbrian Water where you can list, view and manage the water service charges for all of your properties.


TRACKER RATE CAMPAIGN REQUESTS MORE LANDLORD ASSOCIATION SUPPORT

The background to the Tracker Rate Campaign is that at least two mortgage lenders have used ambiguities within consumer protection legislation to increase their profit margins on some of their tracker rate mortgage products for both homeowners and smal


SIGNS THAT YOU COULD BE RENTING TO A CANNABIS FARMER

The latest report from the Independent Drug Monitoring Unit says that there are now as many as 500,000 people growing cannabis in the UK.  Here is some advice on spotting the early signs of a cannabis farm in the property you’re renting out.


RESULTS OF LANDLORD SURVEY

We recently asked our members to take part in a survey regarding their experiences.   A number responded with concerns about Housing Benefit.  We put their concerns forward to the Housing Benefit section and they have responded accordingly.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR LANDLORDS ABOUT DOMESTIC ABUSE

If you believe one of your tenants is suffering from domestic abuse but they want to stay in your property the Sanctuary Scheme can make it possible for them to remain there. The scheme makes your home safer by installing the security measures you think w


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT WHEELY BINS

Over recent years the Council has faced a sharp rise in the number ofwheeled bins reported lost, stolen or damaged, leading to asignificant increase in the cost of supplying replacement bins.


LANDLORDS WITH WEST BROMWICH FACE TRACKER MORTGAGE RISE

Thousands of UK landlords are facing a rise in the interest rate charged on their tracker mortgages despite no change in the Bank of England rate.


WELFARE REFORM UPDATE – OCTOBER 2013

Changes to Housing benefit from April 2013


TOP TIP FROM ONE OF OUR LANDLORDS

Now that the weather is starting to change , we are all starting to think about putting our heating systems on.


HELP US STOP LOAN SHARKS NOW.

Gateshead Council in partnership with ateshead Private Landlords Association are working in Partnership with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to help stop loan sharks. As a local landlord we would ask you to be vigilant in relation to this matter an


MULTI-MILLION POUND ENERGY EFFICIENCY MAKEOVER FOR HOMES IN THE NORTH EAST

Up to 50,000 households and businesses in the North East are set to benefit from an energy efficiency scheme – Warm Up North – worth up to £200m that is aimed at reducing energy bills and tackling fuel poverty.Delivered by the nation&rsq


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BONDS

On 14th June Lord Justice Lloyd delivered his judgement on an appeal from the Wandsworth County Court in the case of Superstrike Ltd vs Marino Rodrigues. 


SWALWELL LANDLORDS LICENSING REMINDER

 Just a note to remind those of you who have properties within the new landlord licensing area in Swalwell, that the scheme goes live on 8th April 2013. It is an offence not to have a licence after this date, so would urge you to make arrangements to


FLUES IN VOIDS REGULATIONS

On the 1st of January 2013, a new gas regulation came into force regarding all gas boiler flues connected to room-sealed fan assisted boilers which have been fitted in void spaces. The flue regulations require that a Gas Safe Engineer must be able to see


NEW TENANCY DEPOSIT PROTECTION RULES

New deposit protection rules start soon that close loopholes that let landlords escape fines by returning money to tenants on the steps of the Court.


HOMESLESS HEROES

One of our members has contacted me about the above organisation. 


KIM PROVES SHE IS HOT PROPERTY !

Kim Waugh, who has been working hard to raise standards in the private rented sector team, has won a prestigious "Property Woman of the Year" Award from the National Landlords Association.


ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES

From 1st October 2008, any private landlord renting out his property to a new tenant will need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property.


LANDLORDS BEWARE!

All landlords are asked to be particularly vigilant when taking on board new tenants. It is essential that you are aware of a tenants history so you can make an informed decision as to whether they are suitable for your property.


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National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (UK)

The home of electrical contracting excellence

NICEIC is the electrical contracting industry's independent voluntary body for electrical installation matters in the UK [more]

The Energy Saving Trust

Give your home a check up and you could save around £300 per year.

An independent UK-based organisation aiming to reduce CO2 emissions [more]

The Electrical Contractors' Association

The Electrical Contractors' Association

Representing the best in electrical engineering and building services for more than 100 years [more]

Accreditation Network UK

A network of professionals and organisations that promotes accreditation in privately rented residential accommodation [more]


Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council

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Welcome to the home of Gateshead Private Landlords' Association

Latest news

Benefits Update – March 2015
Universal Credit

This is now live in a number of areas in the North West for both single JSA claimants and families and householders.  Anyone of working age making a new claim to certain state benefits in these areas will apply for Universal Credit.  National Rollout has recommenced from February 2015 but only to new single Jobseekers Allowance claimants.  Gateshead will go live on 15th June 2015.  However, this will only be for people making brand new claims for Jobseekers Allowance.

Universal Credit will eventually replace the following six main working age benefits:

  • Income Support,
  • Income related Jobseekers Allowance,
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance,
  • Housing benefit,
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit.

A number of benefits will be paid separately such as Attendance Allowance, Bereavement Benefits, Disability Living Allowance/PIP, Carers Allowance, Child Benefit, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseekers Allowance, Local Council Tax Support, Industrial Injuries Benefit, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Adoption pay, sick pay, war pensions and pensioner benefits.

Universal Credit is worked out by awarding a personal amount based on age and whether someone is single or part of a couple, and then adding top ups for disability, housing costs and children.  Universal Credit will reduce in line with the amount of money earned when someone starts work.

The housing costs element of the Universal Credit award helps tenants with their eligible rent and service charge costs.  Regulations state that claimants must satisfy three conditions – payment, liability and occupation – to qualify for help with their housing costs.  DWP will, in the majority of cases, pay eligible housing costs directly to the claimant as part of the single Universal Credit benefit payment.

Universal Credit will be capped at £500 a week for couples and lone parents, and £350 a week for single people. 

In the majority of cases Universal Credit will consist of a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s account.  Couples living in the same household will receive one monthly payment between them.  Payments will include eligible housing costs.  Households will then be responsible for managing their own rent payments.  In some cases an Alternative Payment Arrangement might be available.  This could take the form of a more frequent payment, split payment across the household or a managed payment direct to the landlord.  Other adults living in the same household who are claiming Universal Credit will be paid separately.

If a claimant’s payday falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, payment will be moved forward to the nearest working day.

A key aspect of Universal Credit is to encourage personal responsibility and financial independence to help remove these as barriers into employment, therefore, where possible, claimants will be expected to arrange their own rent payments as they would if they were in full time work.  Landlords need to think about how this will fit with their own payments calendars.

If landlords have previously received a managed rent payment from the local authority, they will need to speak to their tenants to agree arrangements for collecting rent from them as all cases will be looked at on an individual basis.  Universal Credit intends claimants to take responsibility for their own finances, but help will be provided for those who need it.

Personal Budgeting Support can be offered to anyone claiming Universal Credit. Claimants needing help with monthly budgeting will be identified through conversations with the Universal Credit work coach.

Many claimants will be able to help themselves through the online budgeting support services that are already available but DWP will help any claimants who have a clear need for more intensive support.

Money advice will be offered at a national and local level, and will include a mix of online, phone and face to face services.

Landlords and other third parties (eg family members, support workers) can be considered when assessing a claimant’s ability to manage their finances.  For those claimants who are not yet in arrears with their rent but may benefit from some budgeting advice the DWP can refer the third party, family member or landlord to appropriate supporting organisations.  Personal Budgeting Support or Alternative Payment Arrangement may also be deemed appropriate.

A relevant third party can contact the Universal Credit Service Centre by calling 0345 600 0723 to notify any concerns that they may have about a Claimants financial capability.

The Money Advice Services offers advice and support to claimants and landlords to help them prepare for the move to Universal Credit.

Landlords would be expected to follow their usual rent collection practices.  However, if the claimant is unable or unwilling to resolve a payment issue that puts them at risk of eviction, DWP can assist landlords by considering if a managed payment to the landlord (Alternative Payment Arrangement) is appropriate.  When arrears reach the equivalent of one month’s rent, DWP will review the situation following notification from the claimant or the landlord.  At this point DWP can offer the claimant budgeting support and may decide to pay the rent directly to the landlord.  When arrears reach an equivalent of two months’ rent the landlord (or the claimant) can ask DWP to consider if an Alternative Payment Arrangement would be an appropriate course of action.

Ian Duncan Smith has announced that roll out will be complete for most cases by 2018 with a proposed 0.1 million recipients by May 2015, 0.5 recipients by May 2016 and 7.7 million recipients by the time roll out is complete.

For pensioners, housing benefit will eventually be paid as Housing Credit by the Pension Service, but not until at least April 2017.

Further Information can be found at:
www.gov.uk/universal-credit

DWP offers an email address for landlords to use for urgent enquiries
UC.SERVICECENTREHOUSING@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK

If you are a landlord wishing to request a managed payment, please download the Universal Credit: Rent Arrears Form and send it to:

Freepost Plus RTEU-LESU-EXTJ
Universal Credit
Post Handling Site B
Wolverhampton
WV99 1AJ

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