News & views from Urban.co.uk

Urban.co.uk Q&A: My tenant has changed the locks on my property and not given me a key. Is this allowed?

Posted by: Adam Male on 5 September 2016
Comments: 0

Q

My tenant has just informed me that they have changed the locks on my property. Are they allowed to do this, and can I demand to have a key?


A

Ah, this is a tricky situation!

Most tenancy agreements now cover this issue with a caveat stating that tenants are not legally allowed to tamper with locks on a property unless expressly allowed by the landlord. However, if you do not have this clause included in your tenancy agreement you are in a slightly sticky situation.

Whilst a tenant is in situ in a property, unless it is expressly covered in the tenancy agreement, your tenant does have the right to change the locks, and unfortunately they have no legal obligation to notify you of this, or provide you with a key to the property.

They do legally still have to allow you planned access to the property (for planned maintenance etc), but it is your tenant’s right to ‘live in quiet enjoyment’ and use the property as their home, which doesn’t include furnishing you with a key.

However, do make sure that you check your tenancy agreement carefully. If it does in fact mention that your tenant isn’t allowed to tamper with locks, they are in breach of this important legal document.  Of course, there is very little you can do about it if they have already made the change, but it is something you should note down – you should be able to claim the price of replacement locks when it comes to settling their deposit. 

Clock is ticking for landlords in Wales

Posted by: Adam Male on 5 September 2016
Comments: 0

The Rent Smart Wales deadline of November 23rd is looming, and time is running out for unregistered Welsh landlords!

Under the regulations, by the 23rd November, all landlords who own property in Wales must have registered themselves and their property addresses with the Rent Smart Wales scheme.

You must undertake training to prove that you are ‘fit and proper’ to be a landlord, pay the relevant fee ((online fee is £33.50 and paper form is £80.50) and you will then be issued a license and registration number.

There are no exceptions - whether you are a landlord or you just carry out management work on behalf of a landlord, failure to comply is illegal and if you are unlicensed by the time the deadline rolls around you could face a hefty fine of £5,000!

It can take up to eight weeks for Rent Smart Wales to process license applications, so if you haven’t yet arranged your registration, don’t leave it too much longer!

For more information, visit the official Rent Smart Wales website 

Forgetful Scottish tenants could be in for a bonus!

Posted by: Adam Male on 5 September 2016
Comments: 0

There was good news for Scottish tenants this week, as a new programme was launched to reunite them with their cash!

SafeDeposits Scotland has launched an appeal for forgetful tenants, who haven't claimed back their deposits at the end of their tenancy – and they are looking to get their cash back to them. The firm believe that over 2,000 tenants, many of them students, ended their leases and left the property without claiming back the cash that they handed over at the start.

Since the introduction of tenancy deposit schemes in July 2012, it is believed that over £500,000 has gone unclaimed. The team already attempt to reunite tenants with their cash by sending them letters, text messages, emails and phone calls, but when if all else fails, when left unclaimed for six years, the cash goes to the Crown. 

And the rebrand winner is...

Posted by: Adam Male on 2 September 2016
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Thank you to everyone who took part in voting for the Urban.co.uk rebrand vote – results are in!

 

  • Yellow – 37%

  • Blue- 28%

  • Red – 26%

 

There were also some ‘off-plan’ colour choices-

 

  • Green – 5%

  • Orange - 2%

  • Purple – 2%

 

 

 

The resounding winner is yellow, so thanks a bunch for all your help – and don’t forget keep your eyes peeled for some zingy yellow Urban.co.uk branding soon! 

 

'Tenant Tax' landlords fighting back against HMRC

Posted by: Adam Male on 1 September 2016
Comments: 0

 

The landlords who dared to challenge the government’s so-called 'tenant tax' have had a date set for their hearing, in which they plan to haul HM Revenue and Customs over the hot coals.

Buy-to-let landlords Steve Bolton and Chris Cooper, will take to the stand on 6th October to carry out the next stage of the campaign that they launched in a bid to challenge former Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to restrict the amount of tax relief landlords are able to claim on mortgage interest - Section 24 of the Finance Act (No 2) Act 2015 (Formerly Clause 24).

The date has been pushed back from it's original mid-September schedule, after HMRC requested the change, noting that it's legal team were not available for the original dates.

Section 24, which is due to be phased in from April 2017 (and introduced over the course of four years), means that the amount of income tax relief that landlords can get on residential property finance costs will be restricted to the basic rate of tax. The changes will affect all landlords who let residential properties as an individual, in a partnership or trust.

Bolton and Cooper believe that the changes, if introduced, would cause the dominio effect of a hike in rents for millions of tenants, the forced sale of thousands of rented properties and a subsequent increase in homelessness - so they decided to do something about it!

The court case has been funded by crowd-funding, with the pair raising a whopping £101,000 through crowdfunding websites, mainly boosted by frustrated landlords who hope to see the taxes axed. The budget will be spent on legal representation by none other than Cherie Blair’s company Omnia Strategy LLP, which Bolton and Cooper hope will give them a good chance of victory!