Forum reminder

Just a reminder, our next landlord forum is on Wednesday next week. (Please see flyer below).

The agenda includes Mary Latham of the National Landlords Association (who are joint hosts  or the event). Mary will be talking about changes in housing law and the general picture for our sector. If you have heard Mary before – you’ll know just what a good speaker she is. If you want to stay informed about what’s happening in housing – you need to listen to Mary.

We will also be talking about the General Data Protection Regulations – which represent a major change for landlords of whatever size. This is an issue you simply must make sure you are informed about or you could face some really serious consequences. The other big change covered is the Homelessness Reduction Act and our council.

Please note the change from our usual venue (on flyer below)  – and that this will be an evening session. It will start from 5.30 and formally kick off at 6.00.  If you are able to come, please confirm you attendance by email to Tina Dolan  Look forward to seeing you there.

At the same venue, starting earlier in the afternoon and leading into the forum, , landlords are also invited to a separate event hosted by our friends at Brushstrokes. If you don’t know them, Brushstrokes are a leading local charity offering support to migrants – include support with housing and they are interested in the views of private landlords on this issue. For more information – contact Megan



Ending a tenancy legally. Getting section 21s right.

If you need to ask for property back when the term has expired, you must make sure that you have served your legal notices properly and have done everything that the law expects. If you don’t, you could run into expensive legal bills or be stuck with a tenant that you legally cannot get rid of!

New legislation, the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into effect this year. As a consequence of the act, council officers who come into contact with people who have been given a notice to end a tenancy will be obliged to check very carefully that the landlord has done everything perfectly. If the landlord hasn’t, they might have to intervene to prevent the landlord recovering the property. This could leave landlords in very difficult situations.

So it’s even more important than ever that landlords have their paperwork in perfect order and have carried out their legal responsibilities.

This blog doesn’t pretend to offer comprehensive legal advice – we just do quick summaries to raise awareness – so get googling for more information. The websites of the various professional landlord organisations are a good place to start. But here are a few things that can stop you from legally ending a tenancy by issuing a section 21 notice (which is by far the most common procedure).

  • Not carrying out all the required steps to protect a deposit if one has been taken.
  • Not giving a tenant a ‘How to rent’ booklet on more recently created tenancies.
  • Not using the prescribed form to serve a section 21 notice.
  • Not having a current gas safety certificate in place.

That’s not the full list – as I say – get googling. But one to be particularly aware of, is the requirement to have given a tenant a ‘how to rent booklet. (And to be able to prove that you have done so).We have blogged on this issue before, but know that a great many landlords in Sandwell seem completely unaware of this legal duty.  Please make sure you understand your responsibilities here or you could get a nasty surprise.



Evening landlord forum

Sandwell Landlords Forum

We hope you can make it to the next FREE Sandwell Landlord forum.

If you are wondering about the graphic, the question you can guarantee myself and Liz will get asked at forums is – ‘Why don’t we get biscuits with the coffee anymore?’ So with great resourcefulness and some financial wizardry, not at the Council Tax payer’s expense, Liz has secured biscuit funding.

The forum, co-hosted by the National Landlords Association will be on 21st March. Following several requests from landlords, as an experiment, it will be an evening session. Depending on the turn-out, we will then look at whether we might want to have future forums in the evening. Also please note the change of venue from Sandwell Council House at Oldbury to Smethwick Mencap Social Club.

The agenda hasn’t been finalised yet – but the star turn will be Mary Latham of the National Landlords Association talking about changes in the law and housing regulations. Biscuits or not, its worth coming just to hear Mary, not just because she’s an excellent speaker, but there is an awful lot happening in housing that landlords need to know about and Mary is the person to cover it.

We will post the final agenda closer to the date. Hope to see you there.




Civil penalties for landlords committing housing offences


The Housing and Planning Act 2016 amended the Housing Act 2004 to provide an alternative to prosecution of any offences as outline in the 2004 Act. The amendments allow a civil penalty to be imposed by a local housing authority. The amount is to be determined by the local housing authority with a maximum set at £30,000.

The proposed charging system therefore specifies a civil penalty of £5,000 for a first offence rising to £30,000 depending on the circumstances of the case. The consultation is taking place to receive your views on the proposed charges to view the full consultation please see here.

For example, a landlord with no previous convictions who failed to comply with an improvement notice where the tenant was vulnerable or significant harm occurred as result of housing conditions, would receive a basic penalty of £5,000 with a £2,500 premium because of the impact on the tenant. If the landlord could demonstrate their income was less than £440 per week the £7,500 penalty would be reduced by 50%. If the landlord repeated the offence the basic penalty would be £15,000 plus £2,500 impact premium.

At the upper end of the range of penalties, a landlord who failed to obtain a licence for a house in multiple occupation would receive a basic penalty of £10,000 for a first offence, and a second offence would attract a penalty of £30,000, with a 50% reduction for income below £440 in either case.