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News Archive : July - Dec 2007



Review of the Landlords' Summit 2007

Housing Exhibition & Conference

Organised by Decent and Safe Homes (DASH), the East Midlands Landlord Summit, Housing Exhibition & Conference 2007 took place at Pride Park Stadium, Derby on 2nd October and was an undoubted success.

Key Achievements of the Event

  • Meeting leading industry experts
  • Up to the minute information
  • Availability of products and services
  • Networking opportunity to connect with other landlords

With over 200 landlords attending the summit, and speakers from many aspects of private sector housing,this event was a one-stop shop for all landlords needs. Tom Toumazou, DASH Project Manager, opened proceedings with a welcome to the event and outlined the programme for the day.

Seminars

Visitors to the summit benefited from a series of free seminars.  Key speakers were invited to present seminars to up to 50 delegates.  Seminars took place hourly between 1pm and 6pm.  The seminars were informative, with lively debates during question and answer sessions.

Key speakers on the day were:

  • John Socha (National Landlords Association) and Frank Hardy (East Midlands Property Owners) discussing Landlord Associations and outlining the benefits of membership.
  • Maurice Curtin (Policy & Development, Derby City Council) introduced the latest changes to Housing Benefit with the introduction of Local Housing Allowance, and discussed how this will affect landlords
  • Professor Martin Partington (Law Commission) talked about the proposed changes to tenancy agreements which will affect all private landlords.
  • John Socha (National Landlord Association) explained the new Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme and the options open to landlords in order to comply with the new legislation.
  • Toyin Davidson-Ero (Landlord Support Services) delivered a seminar about how to deal with problem tenants, including eviction procedures.
  • Robert Graver (The Alan Boswell Group) presented the fundamentals of property investment in his Investment Advice seminar.
  • Kevin Firth (Deposit Protection Service) took an in-depth look at the Deposit Protection Service and its benefits to Landlords.

All presentations from the East Midland Landlords Summit 2007 are available to download below.

Exhibition

The Summit provided delegates with the opportunity to visit over 30 exhibition stands.  Representatives from each organisation were on hand to give out advice and information to landlords.

Present on the day were:

  • government agencies and specialist lawyers such as Local Authority housing departments, Derby Home Energy Advice and Andersons Solicitors.
  • the latest buy-to-let mortgages from Leeds Building Society and landlord insurance from Coversure Insurance Services.
  • specialist letting agents Martin & Co.
  • great deals on safety products, compact kitchens from Elfin Kitchens, advice on utility management and supplies.

Giving Landlords a Voice

On hand to answer any landlord enquiries were the Question Time Panel:

Tom Toumazou           (Decent & Safe Homes (DASH) Project Manager)

Rob Rylott                  (Housing Standards Manager, Derby City Council)

Maurice Curtin            (Policy & Development Manager, Derby City Council)

Frank Hardy               (President, East Midlands Property Owners)

John Socha                (Vice-President National Landlords Association)

The session was filled with lively debate, leading Tom Toumazou to comment; "Valuable contributions were made from the audience, notably from landlord Paul Griffiths, on a wide range of important issues."

Two main topics were raised by delegates:

  • Housing benefit : landlords were concerned about changes to the way housing benefit will now be administered, and highlighted that as benefit will now be paid directly to the tenant, this may cause problems of rent arrears and deter landlords from letting to such tenants.

  • Difficulties caused by the inability to transfer HMO licences.  It was highlighted that as an HMO licence is granted to a specific landlord, when that landlord sells that particular property, the new owner, should they wish to let the property, will have to apply for another licence.  This could cause potential problems with the sale.

This hour-long session provided the audience with the opportunity to pose any private sector housing question to the panel, who were then able to provide individual feedback.  This was welcomed by the delegates who found it extremely valuable.

As delegates began to leave it was evident that they had benefited from the day.  Here is a snapshot of opinions from delegates and speakers:

"Although this is the first one I've been involved with, I'm pleased with the turn out and I am looking forward to taking things forward."

"I really enjoyed the seminar.  It was a great opportunity to meet likeminded people and get tips from the speakers."

 "I think the summit was a huge success."

"A very well organised conference. It is clear that DASH is doing outstanding work to raise standards in the private rented sector." Professor Martin Partington.

"A very useful day meeting landlords and addressing their concerns about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.   An excellent event." John Socha, Vice Chairman NLA.

DASH……

DASH was formed to help with the introduction of the Housing Act 2004. The event formed part of DASH's drive to improve standards in the private rented sector in the East Midlands.

If you:

  • Want to find out more about DASH conferences and training
  • Know someone who could benefit from our services

call           01332 256475                email       dash@derby.gov.uk

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DASH 11th Local Authority Conference ~
Housing Regulation the Future

The DASH 11th Local Authority Conference organised by Decent and Safe Homes was held on Thursday 27th October 2007 at the Quality Inn hotel, Loughborough.

Over 50 delegates from Private Sector Housing departments across the East Midlands attended the event which was based around the theme of Housing Regulation: The Future. The conference was opened with an introduction from DASH Project Manager, Tom Toumazou who spoke about the new performance framework for Local Authorities and Local Authority Partnerships. Tom outlined the the stronger communities agenda and the primary purpose of delivering better outcomes for local people. Tom stated that this was the basis of the new generation of Local Area Agreements (LAA's).

Following the introduction, the first speaker of the day was Debbie Crew, the Consumer Action award winner for a national campaign for better rights for tenants of private landlords. Debbie had been concerned during her work for CAB of cases where clients were afraid of complaining too much in case it led to eviction. For more information, view the full presentation [58kb].
Debbie stated, "What I hope for most is that my work will lead to new legislation to end this culture of fear amongst tennants, and stop landlords acting in this way."

Andrew Griffiths from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health spoke about the National Regulation Agenda. In October 2007 the first reading of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill was made in the House of Lords. A Statutory code has been introduced which states that there must be regard for transparency, proportionate and fair actions in dealing with enforcement. Andrew went on to outline the how the national priorities in enforcement had been set and stated that although there was clarity on the national policy areas on which local authorities should concentrate, would this mean that LA's would withdraw activity in non-priority areas? View the full presentation [5.73mb].

A National Fire Safety Guidance on fire safety standards in residential accommodation is being developed by LACoRS. Kevin Thompson stated,
"With the withdrawal of the Guidance Circular 12/92 and the introduction of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System it became apparent that there was an absence of national guidance on fire safety."
The guide will enable regulators to enforce and providers to comply with the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. A formal consultation will take place from 14 - 24 February, and it is intended for the guidance to be available from April 2008. See the full presentation [1.01mb].

Martin Partington introduced the work of the Law Commission in the presentation "Taking Renting Seriously". The Renting Homes Project first looked at simplyfying tenure and model contractual agreements. It went on to review how to effectively manage disputes and preventative measures which can be put in place to limit disputes from arrising. The Law Commission is assessing how to involve key stakeholders and landlords in the regulation process. For further details, view the full presentation [91kb].

EMLAS is the new acronym for the East Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme introduced by Tom Toumazou. Tom explained that the operation of the scheme would be undertaken by DASH in the East Midland region and would accredit landlords and not properties. The scheme will run alongside local initiatives and will be open to all landlords and managing agents who own or manage proerty in the region. To learn more about the scheme, view the full presentation [4.47mb].

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DASH 10th Local Authority Conference ~ Enforcement

The 10th Local Authority Conference organised by Decent and Safe Homes was held on Monday 29th October 2007 at the Quality Inn hotel, Loughborough.

View the Agenda [930kb] from the day.

Over 50 delegates from Private Sector Housing departments across the East Midlands attended the event which was based around the theme of ‘Housing Enforcement ’. The Conference opened with an introduction from DASH Project Manager, Tom Toumazou who along with the DASH team detailed recent work carried out by DASH.

Following the introduction, the first speaker of the day was Dan Donovan, who somehow managed to fit in references to Cliff Richard within the context of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System. See the presentation [7.00mb] to find out how.

Rob Rylott from Derby City Council, described the prescribed standards for deciding the suitability of an HMO for Licensing. The main import of this presentation was that before granting a license a local authority needed to be satisfied that the HMO is "reasonably" suitable or can be made suitable. It was considered that the Local Authority could not be satisfied under S64(3)(a) that a house was reasonably suitable for occupation... if "they consider" that it fails to meet "prescribed" standards. See the full presentation [51kb] here.

Following a break, the next speaker was Carl Price, the Director of Price Marriner & Associates a training and consultancy company. Carl introduced the topic of Management Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders, where the Council takes over the management control of a property. For more information on this see the presentation [2.36mb].

Dave Fonatine from Bristol City Council followed this up by presenting on the proceedure for Management Order Contractor Procurement. This presentation outlined Bristol's experience and ran through the options for management, procurement considerations and issues and finally a useful list of top tips. To find out Bristol's experience see the presentation [709kb] .

The use of Selective Licensing in Market Renewel was a presentation by Rob Turner. Rob stated that Selective Licensing was introduced in Salford in 2007 to address the low housing demand and as a tool to combat anti-social behaviour where landlords fail to take appropriate action and behaviour is significant and persistant in those areas identified. To understand the benefits and issues of the scheme view the full presentation [35.81mb].

The licensing survey results for the East Midlands was the presentation given by Emma Banfield, Policy Officer at LACoRS. View the results on her presentation [777kb].

The day was concluded with the experiences of Ged Gallagher on HMO Licensing and prosecutions in Liverpool. Ged took the audience through three case histories and highlighted the threats and weaknesses to the success of each case. View the presentation [105kb] to learn more.

The event was a huge success, with informative and varied presentations covering several different themes within Enforcement. Delegates found themselves gaining knowledge directly through the experiences of other Local Authorities and benefited greatly from the opportunity to network with fellow practitioners.

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Landlord Development Training Day

DASH would like to invite you to a Landlord Development Day on Wednesday 24 October, at Kedleston Training Centre in Derby.

The event is suitable for all landlords, and there are 24 FREE places.

The session will start at 9:00am and offer guidance and best practices for landlords in dealing with:

  • pre-tenancy matters
  • responsibilities of a landlord
  • setting up a tenancy
  • during the tenancy
  • ending a tenancy

If you would like to attend the Landlord Development Day please use our form to register your interest.

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One-day Residential Property Tribunal Course

This course is aimed at the Local Authority private sector enforcement staff, who ideally have already attended an HHSRS inspections and assessment course. The course has been developed by CPC Professional Development with input and support from the Residential Propery Tribunal Service. Details of the course content can be found on the Local Authority Training page.

Places are still available for the next session of RPT training which have been arranged for 20 November 2007 at the Melton Country Park Visitor Centre. For further details or to book your place email Tony.Briggs@derby.gov.uk.

For further information about any Local Authority Officer training, please contact DASH at dash@derby.gov.uk or phone 01332 256476

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