Private Landlord Survey – Please Help!

We want to hear from private landlords in Angus…

The national homelessness charity Crisis* is working with us to improve housing options and support in the private rented sector. This month, Crisis is conducting a survey of our landlords on our behalf.

Please help by completing the survey by 31 August.

Why are we getting in touch during COVID-19?

We recognise many landlords are seriously concerned about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tenancies and the rental market, and may be looking for advice or options which offer support and longer term reassurances. Now more than ever, we want to ensure existing tenants get the right help and support to avoid tenancies failing.

At the same time, because of the pandemic, we have a large number of households in urgent housing need, some of whom are in temporary accommodation. All of these households are seeking long-term homes. 

What do we mean by “urgent housing need”?

This does not simply mean sleeping on the streets. It means not having a safe home. Whilst sleeping on the streets is the worst form of homelessness, this is very rare in Angus. Most people registered with us as being in urgent housing need have experienced a family or relationship breakdown.  They’re likely to be sleeping on sofas, living in unsafe or overcrowded conditions, or staying in our temporary accommodation.

Why can’t everyone get social housing?

There’s simply not enough social housing to meet demand. We have especially high demand for one bedroom homes across Angus, particularly in the Forfar and Arbroath areas. This means people who are in urgent housing need can still wait a very long time for a home. We know the private sector can help to fill this gap, as private landlords often have good quality homes in the areas people want to stay.

What’s in it for private landlords?

Through Crisis’ work with Councils and private landlords in Scotland, we know there are many successful initiatives bringing landlords and local people in housing need together.

We want to give better support and incentives to landlords to help people in housing need move into private tenancies. We also want to improve the sustainability of private tenancies, by ensuring the right services are in place for tenants and landlords, preventing unnecessary homelessness, especially as we move out of the pandemic.

We’d like you to tell us what we could do to encourage and incentivise more landlords to work with us, to provide more homes for people who desperately need them and work together to reduce tenancy problems like arrears and neighbour nuisance.

Why should landlords do the survey?

1.      it’s anonymous. You don’t need to provide your name or contact details unless you want to

2.      it’s quick. It will only take 5-10 minutes of your time – the questions are mainly multiple choice

3.      it doesn’t commit you to anything!

4.     it’s a chance for landlords to have their voices heard, and tell us what they’d like from us in future

5.    whatever your opinions, by completing this survey you’ll be helping us to help people in Angus. All landlord feedback gives us a better understanding of what they want and what we could do next

So – please help.  Thank you in advance

* Your responses will be collated and analysed by Crisis. No landlord data has been passed to Crisis.  The survey will close on 31 August. 

Please note Crisis is also working with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Council on this subject. If you rent out properties in those areas too, you’ll be contacted by those organisations too – but you only need to complete the survey once. If you have any questions or comments on this survey or this work, please contact Lucie at Crisis: lucie.dunn@crisis.org.uk  

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Coronavirus – Information for private landlords and letting agents

On Monday, 29 June the Scottish Government updated coronavirus guidance for private landlords and letting agents to reflect the move to Phase 2 of their route map to recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance contains the latest information about COVID-19 and support available for private-sector tenants and landlords who may find themselves in financial difficulty due to the virus.

From 29 June, all home moves are allowed, provided they can be carried out safely.  This includes students moving home and other home moves resulting in two households merging. It also applies to custom and self-builders looking to acquire a plot or a property to renovate or to demolish. The Scottish Government guidance on moving home provides advice on how to do this. This guidance contains advice to ensure that moving home in any tenure and supporting activities, such as viewing property, can happen safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Scotland.

 

Help for Private Renters with Our New Rent Deposit Scheme

Our new Rent Deposit Scheme is to help people on low incomes in housing need get accommodation in the private rented sector. If you urgently need housing, but don’t have the money for a deposit for a private rental property, we can help.

If you meet our conditions, we can pay the deposit to the landlord on your behalf. You agree to a savings plan to repay the money to us.

Anyone in work or receiving benefits can apply. To make sure you are able to repay us, we will carry out checks, including the affordability of the property, and check on your tenancy history including any rent arrears.

Landlords must be registered with us and transfer the deposit to one of the National Deposit Schemes. Do not sign a tenancy agreement or move into the property before we confirm you can take part in the scheme.

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For further information about the scheme, check out our website.

Urgent: Calling Private Landlords in Arbroath

We are currently having difficulty finding accommodation for people with urgent housing needs in Arbroath.

If you have any accommodation that you could let now, please contact houarbroathcht@angus.gov.uk

Any accommodation will be considered, although 1 bedroomed accommodation is most in need.

Benefits for landlords:

  • Avoid property sitting empty / rent loss
  • We will assess the suitability of potential tenants, including financial assessment
  • We can support the tenant to access a rent deposit
  • Information and advice available about landlord’s rights and responsibilities and other aspects of private sector tenancy legislation
  • Support, advice and assistance to resolve any disputes that may arise
  • Support for tenants by helping them to sustain their tenancies including, budgeting, paying bills and connections to utilities

We wanted to thank all the private landlords who have contacted us over the last week to help us support people with urgent housing need into private rented tenancies.

A Big Thank You to Our Private Landlords

We wanted to thank all the private landlords who have contacted us over the last week to offer to help us support people with urgent housing need into private rented tenancies. The response from you all has been incredible.

As a result of significant resource restrictions and the suspension of some repairs services and cleaning services, we and our Housing Association partners are finding it difficult to meet the needs of people who need housing urgently at this time.

If you haven’t already been in touch with us and have available property or properties you could offer to people in need, please contact:

In Arbroath / Carnoustie / Monifieth – please email  HouArbroathCHT@angus.gov.uk

In Brechin /Montrose – please email    BrechinMontroseCHT@angus.gov.uk

In Forfar / Kirriemuir – please email    ForfarCHT@angus.gov.uk

Your continued support and assistance is appreciated.

Temporary Restriction of New Social Tenancies – Private Landlords, Can You Help?

As a result of significant resource restrictions and the suspension of some repairs services, cleaning and furnishing services, we and our Housing Association partners have had to restrict letting of new social rented tenancies, including temporary homeless accommodation, during the coronavirus shutdown.

Due to these unprecedented and difficult circumstances, we have temporarily suspended all housing allocations with the exception of the following groups:

  • Discharge from hospital where rehousing is required.  This is a top priority to  support the NHS. 
  • People who are roofless or at risk of rough sleeping
  • People where there is a serious risk identified whether that be a risk of violence/abuse, including all forms of domestic abuse, or other protection measures are required

We continue to focus our efforts on trying to prevent people from becoming homeless and needing accommodation and are advising people who have been sofa-surfing or staying with friends and family that they follow the government guidance and remain living where they have been, where it is safe to do so. We are also working across our housing teams and partner housing providers to identify and furnish suitable accommodation.

We are looking for help from private landlords to provide private rented tenancies to individuals in the priority groups we have identified, and to work in partnership with us to identify suitable tenants from the priority groups for any properties that are available to let.

Where furnishings are required, and this is needed urgently and cannot be met any other way, we may be able to provide furniture and goods. Our housing staff will also be able to support the household to apply for financial help (if needed) to meet the rent and housing costs.

If you have a property or properties that are available to let and are able to support us to provide housing to these priority groups, please contact the following: 

In Arbroath, Carnoustie or Monifieth – please email HouArbroathCHT@angus.gov.uk

In Brechin or Montrose – please email BrechinMontroseCHT@angus.gov.uk

In Forfar or Kirriemuir – please email ForfarCHT@angus.gov.uk

 

Your support and assistance is appreciated.

 

Advice For Private Landlords – Renewals and Energy Efficiency

As a registered private landlord, you have certain legal responsibilities under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) 2004.

Once you have registered you must renew your registration every 3 years. Using an email address that you provided in the application process, you will receive email reminders to renew 3 months before expiry. The Council can only send correspondence to the email address you provide.

If you fail to register after receiving two requests to apply, you are charged a late application fee of £130. Late fees don’t have any discount applied and all joint owners have to pay this fee. The late application fee is a charge laid down in legislation, and is automatically applied immediately upon the expiry of a registration. When a registration expires, it is no longer legal for any property to be let or sought to be let as they are no longer registered.

In many cases, the fee is charged at renewal due to an oversight by the landlord, rather than a deliberate avoidance of registration. To help landlords minimise the risk of having to pay a late fee, please note the following advice from the Scottish Government:

  • Firstly, if you are required to register but haven’t, please do so!
  • For those that are registered, renewal reminders are sent by e-mail at 90 days and 30 days before expiration. This offers a three month window in which to renew your registration without incurring a late fee.
  • The Private Landlord Registration (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 increased landlord registration fees from 11 June 2019. The regulations changed the principal fee to £65; the property fee to £15 and the late application fee to £130.
  • The Late Application Fee is the first enforcement step for landlords letting property without a valid registration. The next step is typically a Rent Penalty Notice, where rent is ceased for all let properties, the ultimate sanction is to have a registration revoked and for prosecution action to be considered. Please keep within the law and ensure that registrations are kept up to date.
  • Always keep your landlord registration e-mail and contact address details up to date. E-mail and postal reminders are issued based on the details held in the register. If you wish to change you contact email address you can do so online by using the website  
  • E-mails can sometimes end up in a spam or junk folder. Please remember to check these mailboxes so that reminder notices aren’t missed. The Council is not responsible if you fail to advise us of a change of email address or fail to check your spam inbox.
  • You can easily check your registration expiry date, in a single local authority area or across multiple registrations, using the online system and taking the renew/update journey. The summary page at the start of the “Your Registration” journey (https://landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/) will list all your registrations, expiry dates and let properties.
  • The Landlord Registration System was enhanced further this year by introducing a summary page at the start of the “Your Registration” journey and this lists all a landlord’s registrations, expiry dates and the let properties. If you are unsure when your registration expires please take a moment to check.
  • Joint owners must register / renew in their own right, a lead owner cannot register or renew on behalf of second or subsequent owners. Although second joint owner fees are typically waived, Late Application Fees are applied to joint owners whose registrations have lapsed.

Other useful sources of information are the Mygov.scot and Renting Scotland websites, or representative organisations such as the Scottish Association of Landlords, and Landlord Accreditation Scotland.

Scottish Government Consultation on Energy Performance

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on proposals to improve the energy efficiency and condition standards of privately rented housing in Scotland. For more information, see our housing blog post: Calling All Private Landlords! Have Your Say on Energy Efficiency!

Revised Fire Safety Guidance for Private Landlords

The Scottish Government recently issued revised guidance for private landlords on satisfactory fire alarm provision permitting the use of tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms to comply with the repairing standard from 1 March 2019.

The revised guidance has now been published on the Scottish Government website.

This guidance will cease to have effect from 1 February 2021, at which time private landlords should refer to the Scottish Government guidance on the tolerable standard, Chapter 16: Satisfactory Fire Detection.

 

Private Residential Tenancy Updates For Landlords

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The Scottish Government recently published updated versions of the model Private Residential Tenancy Agreement, Easy Read Notes and Statutory Terms Supporting Notes. These updates take account of changes to data protection laws, as well as other minor edits and clarifications.

Updated documents are on the Scottish Government’s website:

Landlords can also use the Model Tenancy Agreement tool to create tenancy agreements for their tenants

 

 

Understanding Universal Credit – New Website for Private Landlords

uc web for lanlords

 

To help private landlords get a better understanding of Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions has developed a landlord communication campaign, Understanding Universal Credit, with top tips for private landlords and details of how to apply for a managed payment.

 One important piece of information which landlords can find on the website is how to apply for a direct payment of housing costs which could protect tenancies of tenants who aren’t managing their rental payments.