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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Thousands of buy to let homes are dangerous, claims compliance firm

A compliance company has accused “thousands” of buy to let investors of failing to address major household hazards which render properties dangerous. 

In the past 12 months VeriSmart has conducted over 60,000 property inspections and reports on rental properties with 4,521 resulting in at least one Housing Health & Safety Rating Assessment (HHSRS) per inspection - some involved three or more.

It says the most common problems were:

Smoke detectors: some 40 per cent of all health and safety assessments flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector;

Stairs: 26 per cent of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs and between or on separate levels of a house;

Electrical issues: these accounted for 11 per cent of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments;

Carbon monoxide: seven per cent of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector;

Damp and mould: these were flagged as a risk in four per cent of properties.

Structural integrity: Threat of structural collapse or falling elements was also an issue in two per cent of all properties. 

Other problems included fire hazards, excess cold, and issues related to domestic hygiene.

“It’s really quite worrying that we’re seeing so many fail to address some of the most serious hazards in the home. The lack of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and the danger of falling on stairs ranking as high as they do is particularly worrying. These are classed as category one hazards and so there is no excuse to have them present in a rental property” says VeriSmart founder Jonathan Senior.

“Since the introduction of the Fitness for Human Habitation Act in place since March 20 this year, along with many additional changes in legislation, landlords and their agents are now more at risk of being sued by tenants for breach of contract for unfit properties” he adds.

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    Nobody in the PRS should be jumping on the scandalous Fitness for Habitation ' bandwagon ' and Landlords should have nothing to do with any company that does.

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    It would have been more honest to benchmark BTL properties with the same results from owner-occupied properties.

    Also knowing the split between private BTL and Council rental stock woukd have been useful

    Instead they jumped on the Private Rental Sector bashing bandwagon

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    Why? owner occupied properties have nothing to do with BTL in the context of this subject. Council properties can be compared, however, as an electrician of 21 years, a tenant of at least 15 rental properties and 3 council properties, I can say without any hesitation whatsoever, that councils maintain their properties far, far better than the PRS.

    As a current property owner, landlord and staunch freemarket supporter, I support landlords 99% of the time, but this article, although having an agenda, touches on a genuine issue. Most PRS properties don't come up the the minimum standards I would accept, plumbing and electrics being a particular common theme.

     
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    This cowboy outfit has just highlighted what is wrong with most of the private and council owned properties in the UK. Professional B2L operaters run the properties in the most healthy and safety ways possible. Yearly Gas Certs yearly Elect reports, 3 monthly property inspections.Contact numbers for maintenance to attend. Legionnaires guide, Damp and Mould guide and how to ventalate the rented property. Turn around within 24 hours of a reported problem.
    LL always contactable.
    Via phone,mobile email, text.
    Try and email the council, you can't try and phone immediatly the council you can't. You can't text them. The only way is to walk into a council building take a ticket and then wait, the person you see most of the time is clueless.
    Outfits like this need to visit every council property and put leaflets through all privately owned properties.
    Verismart=Verithick.

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    There are so, so few B2L operators who run their properties the way you describe. You might (and I commend you for it), but I have experience of dealing with literally hundreds of landlords, and the vast majority go to absurd lengths to spend as little as possible whatever the consequences.

    In contrast, the things you've posted about councils just aren't true (at least not the ones I've ever dealt with). They are far, far from perfect, but to say the only way you can deal with anything is to 'walk into a council building and get a ticket' is just utter nonsense.

    And as I've mentioned to others in this thread, private owned properties have absolutely ZERO to do with rental properties. People can live as unsafely as they want in their own home, it doesn't negate your duty of care to your tenants.

     
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    • D G
    • 07 May 2019 10:58 AM

    Smoke detectors: some 40 per cent of all health and safety assessments flagged either a missing or non-functional smoke detector; - on how many had the tenants removed the battery

    Stairs: 26 per cent of assessments noted a danger of falling on stairs and between or on separate levels of a house; - how many where tenants had left items on the stairs

    Electrical issues: these accounted for 11 per cent of all hazards flagged during health and safety assessments; how may where tenants were were using extension leads

    Carbon monoxide: seven per cent of assessments found a lack of a working carbon monoxide detector; had tenants reported as not working

    Damp and mould: these were flagged as a risk in four per cent of properties. - how may of these were lifestyle

    Structural integrity: Threat of structural collapse or falling elements was also an issue in two per cent of all properties. - this could be anything from house falling down to a loose tile

    Other problems included fire hazards, excess cold, and issues related to domestic hygiene. How many of the fire hazards were of the tenants making, was the excess cold caused by the tenants not heating the property, domestic hygiene - wow! come on now.

    Let's just bash the landlords and agents in the PRS

  • S l
    • S l
    • 07 May 2019 11:56 AM

    If they claim thousands of btl are dangerous, what do they call all the residential housing that is worst than what we had to offer? They dont have at least 80 of all the legal requirements imposed on btl housing.

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    What a ridiculous argument. That's like saying, if you run a restaurant you can serve old and out of date food, 'because people do it in their own homes'.

    The difference is that people living in their own houses can choose to live as dangerously as they like in their own properties. Tenants aren't in their own properties, they're in yours. If someone walked into your house and had an accident as a result of a safety issue, you would just as liable as a landlord would to a tenant. Any reasonable person can see the difference.

     
    S l
    • S l
    • 08 May 2019 14:03 PM

    Mark, you are forgetting that a lot of these homes are doing air bnb and therefore would and should face the same liability if renting out whether to lodgers or air bnb

     
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    airbnb is another thing entirely unrelated to the private rental sector and again doesn't negate your duty of care as a landlord. Why do people seem so intent on finding loopholes and comparing apples with oranges? A temporary let used for tourism, work or a short stay is quite obviously a very different scenario than renting a property to someone as their home. If airbnb is so good, why aren't all landlords getting rid of their tenants and putting their properties on airbnb?

    To make a comparison is ridiculous. At last count there are over 5 million rental properties in England and less than 100,000 airbnb's and they are completely different markets for completely different people in completely different scenarios.

     
  • Suzy OShea

    more scare-mongering! Its open season on private landlords because this maladministration is morally and politically bankrupt and facing annihilation at the next general election! May is more crooked than her crook back!

  • Suzy OShea

    Mark Sesum,

    i agree with your points entirely. this 'report' is an insult to everyone's intelligence. And when they mentioned 'domestic hygiene' i really laughed. Who do they think is responsible for domestic hygiene except the tenants living there. Some are good and some obviously grew up in a pig-sty.

    That is why I employ cleaners on a weekly basis to keep control of the situation and prevent the arrival of vermin. sometimes even my efforts are defeated but I keep trying!

    And as for the comment about stairs, well perhaps landlords ought to erect ''baby-gates' on the landings to stop tenants falling down the stairs.

    What arrant nonsense.

    As for properties on offer on the Air BnB website: you can consider yourself fortunate if you get into the place on time and find it in good condition. a place i rented in central brussels four years ago had its wooden bed frame supported by a couple of bent forks! Consequently, when i sat on it, it collapsed. No money was ever refunded for my cancelled stay, neither by the owner no Air B n B. its my guess that all the unscrupulous landlords will head straight to Air B n B thus giving London a terrible reputation amongst tourists.

  • Suzy OShea

    One aspect of the new changes to the tax system which could impact on the quality of properties dropping is that as a landlord you are only allowed to repair like for like and claim that as a taxable expense that year.

    If you actually go further and improve the facilities of your property for the tenants, you have to wait until you sell the property and claim improvement costs against your CGT liability. So now we really see the sincerity of this government in trying to improve conditions for tenants. They lie as soon as they open their mouths!

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