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Private Landlords' Newsletter


Private Landlords’
ISSUE 9                       Spring 2009

Empty promise
In February 2009 Islington Council    The three demands of
                                      the campaign:
made a pledge in support of the Empty
Promise campaign run by the social    1 VAT maintenance to 5repairs
                                              - a cut in VAT on
                                                                per cent.
                                         This would make it more
housing magazine Inside Housing.         attractive for owners to invest
                                                                               in an empty home to make it
The aim of the campaign is to fill   There are three main points to the        habitable, or for a potential
empty homes across the United        campaign, which will be put forward       buyer to make an offer.
Kingdom. They are expected to
number over one million by the end
                                     as demands to the chancellor ahead
                                     of his budget in April.               2 Grant - use cashand the
                                                                             existing Homes

of the year.                                                                   Communities Agency budget for
                                                                               social landlords to buy and
                                                                               repair long-term empty
Below is an image being used to promote the campaign.
                                                                           3 Guidance - clearer advicecouncils
                                                                             the government to help

                                                                               use empty dwelling
                                                                               management orders.
                                                                           To get involved please email

                                                                           For further information on any
                                                                           subject featured in this newsletter
                                                                           or suggestions please contact
                                                                           Goran Tadic on 020 7527 6089.
                                                                           Procurement and Development
                                                                           Room 111, Town Hall,
                                                                           Upper Street, London, N1 2UD
                                                                                                                Spring 2009

Landlords event                  Digital TV switchover
coming up
Do you want a chance to          What is digital changeover?                        Tenants are responsible for upgrading
meet other landlords and         Between 2008 and 2012 the current                  their own personal TVs and recording
find out about the issues        analogue television signal will be                 equipment. However, it is worth
that affect you? Then come       changed, region by region, to a digital            finding out when the switchover is
along to the north London        signal. The changeover in London is                happening in your area so you can keep
sub-regional landlords'          scheduled for early 2012. After the                your tenant informed of the change
forum that is to take place      changeover, unless the television is               (and remind them that it is their
on 29 April 2009 at the          adjusted to receive a digital signal it will       responsibility to adjust their TV).
Alexandra Palace. The forum      not be able to receive television signal
                                                                                    The tenancy agreement should indicate
is an excellent opportunity      at all.
                                                                                    whether the landlord or tenant is
to promote good practice         Who is responsible for adjusting                   responsible for paying the TV licence
and developments within the      television sets?                                   and any subscriptions to cable or
private sector.                  If you, the landlord, are providing a              satellite TV. The inventory should
Further details about the        television as part of the tenancy then             include the make, model and serial
event will be made available     you will be responsible for ensuring               number of any TV sets that are
closer to the date.              that it can pick up a digital signal after         provided.
                                 the switchover.

Business success in                                 Method of receiving
                                                                                    Equipment required

challenging times                                   Through an aerial               Digital set top box or a new
                                                                                    television with built in digital adapter.
These are                The council has                                            Some aerials may need to be
extraordinary times      dedicated town                                             replaced. Most aerials will be able to
for businesses. The      centre managers in                                         get digital channels. If, however,
UK has officially        place for Angel,                                           signal strength is poor or the aerial is
entered a recession      Archway, Nag's Head                                        corroded or damaged you may need
and 2009 will be a       and Whitecross                                             to replace it. You will be able to tell
challenging year.        Street who support                                         that you need to replace it if your
Islington Council is     local businesses in                                        set-top box does not work.
committed to doing       those areas and help                                       Alternatively a qualified engineer can
its part to support      promote the local                                          test your aerial.
local businesses and     economy.
                                                    Through a satellite dish Satellite dish and receiver provided
the council's Business
                         For more information                                by satellite broadcaster.
and Town Centres
                         or to find out how
team is here to help.
                         the council can help
                                                    Through a cable                 A connection to a cable system and
The team run and         your business please
                                                                                    indoor decoder box provided by the
promote a number of      contact Islington
                                                                                    cable company.
training events and      Business Partnership
seminars throughout      by emailing
the year to help your    businesspartnership@
business reach its or       Where to go for more information?
potential. They also     call the coordinator,     The government has given the task of managing the switchover
produce a quarterly      Katie Steele on           to a not-for-profit body called Digital UK.
business newsletter      020 7527 3185.            Call 0845 6 505050 or visit
'Update' to keep you
abreast with what is                               Islington Council supports the
happening in the local
business community.
                                                                                                       Spring 2009

Private Landlords’ Newsletter
Ban for unregulated letting agents

From 6 April 2008, all deposits paid by tenants to landlords for
Assured Shorthold Tenancies must be safeguarded by a
mandatory deposit protection scheme. Landlords have a choice
between custodial and insurance based schemes.
The main difference between the          deposit and dispute resolution           The National Association of
two is that in a custodial scheme        scheme, which is run by an               Letting Agents (NAEA)
the landlord pays the tenant's           independent company The Dispute
deposit directly into the scheme                                                  The Royal Institution of
and in an insurance-based scheme                                                  Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
the landlord retains the deposit and   The TDS has announced that
pays a premium to the insurer.                                                 If the agent is not a member of
                                       following an advice by their insurers
                                                                               these organisations (unregulated)
On 22 November 2006, the               from 06 April 2009 it will provide
                                                                               the deposit must be protected via
government awarded contracts to        deposit protection and dispute
three service providers, which are:                                            either DPS or by 6
                                       resolution only to regulated letting
                                                                               April 2009. is not
1 The Deposit only custodial
  (DPS) - the
              Protection Service       agents and corporate and individual
                                       landlords who are members of the
                                                                               following the TDS decision to
                                                                               withdraw protection from
    protection scheme.                 following recognised professional
                                                                               'unregulated' letting agents. The
2 scheme.
                  - an
                                           The National Approved Letting
                                                                               agents concerned should advise
                                                                               their tenants and landlords of what
                                           Scheme (NALS)                       they intend to do on their behalf.
3 The Tenancyinsurance-based
  (TDS) - an
               Deposit Scheme

Getting Housing Benefit backdated
Any awarded Housing and Council Tax Benefit will           carefully considered before a decision can be made.
normally be given from the Monday after the council
receives the claim from the tenant. Sometimes it is           Claimant did not claim immediately after leaving
possible to award benefit from an earlier date. This is       hospital.
called backdating.                                            Claimant was ill and had no one to make a claim on
From 6 October 2008 the maximum period for which              their behalf.
Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims may be
backdated has changed to:                                     Claimant was wrongly advised by an official person
                                                              that they were not entitled to Housing Benefit or
    Six months for claimants under the age of 60 (and
                                                              Council Tax Benefit.
    men aged 60-64 on income support, income-based
    jobseeker's allowance or on an income-related             Claimant was unable to manage their own affairs
    employment and support allowance) if they can             and did not have an appointee.
    show that there is 'good cause' for not claiming          Claimant could not have reasonably been expected
    earlier. This may be reduced to three months in the       to know their rights; for example, where there had
    future.                                                   been a relevant change in the law.
    Three months for people aged 60 and over (except          Claimant did not claim because of a combination of,
    as above). These claimants do not have to have            for example, their age, health, inexperience of the
    'good cause' for making backdated claims.                 benefit system or language difficulties.
Below are some examples of 'good cause,' however the       For further information contact Housing Benefit on
circumstances of each individual backdate request is       020 7527 4990.
                                                                                                        Spring 2009

                                   Robert Cole is a Housing
                                   Officer at Pathmeads Housing
                                                                                 Useful Contacts
                                   Association, which is one of
                                   Islington council's largest                   The Rent Service
                                                                                 T: 0207 023 6000
                                   providers of temporary
                                   accommodation for homeless
                                                                                 National Inspection Council for
                                   families. Pathmeads currently
                                                                                 Electrical Installation Consulting
                                   provides the council with                     (N.I.C.E.I.C)
                                   around 400 self contained                     T: 0870 013 0382
                                   homes leased from private                     E:
                                   sector.                                       W:
                                                                                 Gas Safe Register
How long have you been working          as a housing officer is assisting
                                                                                 T: 0800 408 5500
at Pathmeads?                           tenants with needs who may have
I have been working at Pathmeads        otherwise not been able to live in
for nearly three years, one as a        temporary accommodation.                 The National Approved Letting
trainee and two as a housing                                                     Scheme (NALS)
                                        What is your vision for the future?
officer                                                                          T: 01242 581712
                                        I feel that social housing is going to
                                                                                 F: 01242 232518
What do you like about your job?        have more investment and
The most enjoyable part of my job       partnership with the private
is inspecting properties and            sector, and that this will move
resolving any issues tenants may        away from government funding.            The Association of Residential
have.                                                                            Letting Agents (ARLA)
                                        How do you find working with
                                                                                 T: 0845 345 5752
What is the hardest part of your        Islington's Private Sector
                                                                                 F: 01494 431530
job?                                    Partnership?
Dealing with the paperwork around       I find that the Private Sector
my role. In addition to inspecting      Partnership team do a great job
properties, I also have to ensure       under a lot of pressure from             National Landlords Association
that rent arrears and leases are up     tenants and housing associations.        National enquiry line -
to date.                                                                         T: 0870 241 0471
                                        Would you change anything?
                                                                                 F: 0871 247 7535
What is the most successful             I would like to see more
achievement of your career?             professionals in the social housing
The most successful achievement         sector.                                  Residential Landlords Association
                                                                                 T: 0845 666 5000
                                                                                 F: 0845 665 1845
Landlord fined for failure to carry out repairs                                  E:
A social landlord has been ordered to pay £6,000 in fines and costs for
failing to carry out repairs in a prosecution brought by Islington council.      London Landlord Accreditation
The Peabody Trust admitted failing to comply with two improvement
notices issued by the council on homes in Islington. Legal action was            T: 020 7974 1970
taken on behalf of residents after delays to required work with regards to       W:
dampness at Pemberton Terrace, N19, and Redington House, N1.
Consequently on 20 January 2009 the Peabody Trust was fined at
Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court £2,000 for the Pemberton Terrace
case, with £2,000 costs, and £1,000 for the Redington House case, with
£1,000 costs. With a court surcharge, the total cost came to £6,015.

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