Tuesday 13 October 2015

£400,000 fine for non-compliance. Are you complying when you are letting your property in Clapham?

Another day, another news article about a rogue landlord. They seem to be plentiful these days. Here's the latest one:

I'll save you clicking through. In a nutshell, Mr. Landlord chopped up a house into flats and rented them out, despite planners at the council telling him "no, no no." So they took him to court and he was fined £30,000 and his rents and proceeds of £382,000.


That's a fairly extreme example, and let's face it - this particular landlord was a bit audacious ignoring the planners and proceeding anyway. Some say he had it coming, or so the reporters want you to believe for journalistic effect.

Relevance to your letting? A lot really. It just goes to show that landlords are being fined and punished for non-compliance. We have seen a lot of legislation change over the years, I've listed below a few examples with their penalties for non-compliance

Year Legislation Penalties
2008 Housing Act 1988 (amended 2008) - Deposit Registration 3x deposit amount and Section 21 can't be used to evict tenants
2014 Immigration Act 2014 - Obligation for landlords to check immigration status of tenants Fine up to £3000
2015 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 Fine up to £5000
2015 HSE revised Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) 'Legionnaires' disease Fine up to £20,000

So as you can see, a lot is happening in the lettings sector. This is just a pick of the bunch, there will be more of course. So as a landlord it's important to comply. In addition to these regulations there will be restrictions from your lender as to what type of tenant you can let to (an how many), if you have a leasehold property there will probably be more restrictions - you may not be able to change the interior walls of the property without consent, paint the windows a different colour and so forth - you may not even be able to let it at all without asking parental - ahem - freeholder consent.

Fall foul of these regulations and plead ignorance all you like, it won't be a valid defense. You will more than likely have given some thought to handling some elements of the letting process yourself. But truth be told, when there's fines of £20,000 at risk along with the fact that you can't ask tenants to leave if you don't handle the paperwork to the letter of the law, why risk not getting a good managing agent on board to look after your compliance. It's a good insurance policy to have.

Your agent should be a competent, ARLA and NAEA qualified and member agent. They will be up to speed with the latest legislation and therefore offer you good value. In addition they will be able to help you get the most from your investments. After all, you have property in order to benefit you financially. With a little boost from good advice you may just be able to retire that little bit earlier, or buy that next property which will yield you another £500-£1000pcm. If you like the sound of that why not drop me a line: jeroen@claphampropertyblog.com and tell me what you would like to achieve. I help you get there.

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