Earlier instruction from this year of 236 apartments in South West London

Updated news of instruction in South West London –

Inspired Property Management are pleased to announce this development in South West London totalling 236 apartments across 3 buildings, is under management of the expert IPM team.

New Instruction for IPM of 29 units in Essex

New Instruction located in Essex –

Inspired Property Management are pleased to announce the new instruction of Lexington & Maddison House in Essex.

The property is now under the management of Inspired Property Management.

Season’s greetings from IPM

The team at Inspired Property Management would like to wish all of our clients and customers a very

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

We would like to remind all clients and customers that our offices will be closed from the 23rd December 2019 and they will be opening again on the 2nd January 2020.

For any urgent enquiries or our out of hours service, please contact 01302 249349 or 0203 006 8320. This service is available week days between 17.00 and 09.00 and from 17.00 on a Friday evening through to 9.00 on a Monday morning.

If a problem is reported by email the team will review the email within working hours on their return.

Happy Christmas!

Best practice advice for fire safety in flats

ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) has issued a ‘Fire Safety Management in Flats’ Guidance Note to share best practice with professional Fire Safety personnel involved in the residential leasehold sector, including managing agents, developers and landlords.

The Guidance Note has been produced in line with statutory guidance and industry best practice and independently reviewed by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, ARMA’s Primary Authority Partner and can be accessed by clicking here.

Dr Nigel Glen, CEO of ARMA, said: “ARMA members have access to over 100 Guidance Notes on a wide range of topics affecting leasehold properties. This is the only one that has been made available to non-ARMA members, as we wish to promote Fire Safety industry-wide.
Information courtesy of News on the Block.

Top 10 tips for fire safety in flats:

  1. Ask your managing agent to provide you with a copy of the building’s latest fire risk assessment. It is, effectively, a guide book for fire safety plans in your building.
  2. If your managing agent won’t provide you with a copy of the fire risk assessment then complain to the individual agent directly. If that does not work, then make a formal complaint through the internal complaints procedure at the agent’s company.
    If you are still unhappy, you can complain to a redress scheme. All managing agents in England must be a member of one these redress schemes:
    o The Property Ombudsman
    o The Property Redress Scheme
  3. If there is no fire risk assessment and the responsible person will not conduct an assessment, then contact your local fire and rescue authority (FRA). Your FRA is responsible for enforcing fire safety regulations. They can make the person responsible for fire safety in your building carry out a fire risk assessment.
    Your local fire service can tell you who the FRA is (it might be your local council). You can also search on the National Fire Chiefs Council website.
  4. It is recommended that for low-rise blocks of up to three storeys above ground, built in the last 20 years, fire risk assessments should be:
    o reviewed every 2 years
    o redone every 4 years
    For blocks with higher risks (for example, because of the age of the building), or those more than 3 storeys high, it is recommended that assessments should be:
    o reviewed every year
    o redone every 3 years
    In extreme cases (for the highest-risk buildings), a new fire risk assessment is recommended annually.
    When you receive your building’s fire risk assessment check when it was last redone and/or reviewed.
  5. If you have received the assessment, check that the managing agent has or will act on its recommendations.
  6. Fit smoke alarm(s) in your flat and test them monthly.
  7. Be vigilant that the communal areas are free of obstructions to your escape from fire; and that fire doors in communal areas are not propped open.
  8. If a specific ‘evacuation plan’ is agreed with the Local Fire Authority then you should read the plan carefully, so you know what to do if you ever need to evacuate.
  9. Check that the managing agents have regular testing and servicing arrangements in place for any fire-fighting and detection equipment.
  10. If alterations to doors or the internal layout of the flat are planned, consider implications on fire safety and check any issues with your managing agent.

If you would like to know more about the safety standards undertaken by Inspired Property Management in managing your development please get in touch with a member of our team.

Latest update on the Section 21 Reform

The balance of power shifts further towards residential tenants as proposals for radical leasehold reform continues.

The term ‘leasehold reform’ is most commonly being used to refer to the government’s current proposals to rework enfranchisement and commonhold legislation. However, in fact the proposed changes go much deeper into the leasehold system than it might appear, with the most recent consultation focusing upon PRS (Private Rented Sector) in particular.

Let’s remind ourselves of some key dates in the evolution of private sector residential tenancies and the government’s proposed changes.

A brief timeline

1970s

Rent regulation has been around since the First World War and the legislation was eventually consolidated into the Rent Act 1977 which governed most residential tenancies up until 1989. The were some exclusions to this, including lets to limited companies, resident landlords, or those with very high or low rents. These remained ‘common law tenancies’.

Rent Act tenancies were different in three main ways: they were subject to a ‘fair rents’ register; offered long-term security of tenure; and rights of succession.

1980s

However, with the introduction of the Housing Act 1980, it became the Conservative party’s policy to dismantle rent regulation. Regulation for all new tenancies was abolished by the Housing Act 1988, leaving the basic regulatory framework as freedom of contract for the landlord to set any price, thereby leaving rent levels to the market.

Since then most residential tenancies have been assured tenancies, and primarily assured shorthold tenancies, or ASTs.

In addition to paying a market rent, security of tenure was removed by giving the landlord of an AST the right to regain possession of the property at the end of the fixed term (or, if the fixed term is less than six months, six months after the tenancy began), as long as they give two months’ notice (section 21 of the Housing Act 1988).

2018

The current government publishes a consultation paper entitled ‘Overcoming the barriers to longer tenancies in the private rented sector’. The paper notes the following measures that are being introduced, namely:

  • Banning letting fees to tenants and capping tenancy deposits to ensure that tenants have more money in their pockets
  • Insisting that all landlords are members of a redress scheme so that tenants have quick and easy resolution to disputes
  • Ensuring all letting agents are registered and are members of a client money protection scheme to provide assurance to tenants and landlords that their agent is meeting minimum standards

However, they also note that “the change in size and make up of the private rented sector has led to growing need for longer, more secure tenancies than the minimum six months offered by the assured shorthold tenancy regime”. The government accordingly launches a consultation seeking views on longer tenancies in the private rented sector, which proposed a new, three-year tenancy model.

April 2019

The government published its response to the ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Longer Tenancies in the Private Rented Sector’ consultation and announces that for assured shorthold tenancies it ‘will introduce a generational change to the law that governs private renting. This government will put an end to “no-fault” evictions by repealing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988’.

They identify that it will be important to find a balance between giving tenants greater security whilst ensuring landlords are able to recover their property if needed – ‘We do not want to discourage investment in the sector or affect the supply of good quality rental accommodation’.

Therefore, to ensure landlords have confidence they will be able to end tenancies where they have legitimate reason to do so, it is stated that ‘we will also strengthen the Section 8 possession process, so property owners are able to regain their home should they wish to sell it or move into it’. These will be in addition to the existing grounds which allow landlords to evict tenants who don’t pay the rent or commit anti-social behaviour.

July 2019

On 21 July 2019, the government published a further consultation: A New Deal for Renting: Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants.

This consultation confirms that, at the same time as repealing section 21, the government proposes to remove the entire AST regime. This means that in future, the default position will be that a tenancy is a periodic assured tenancy unless the landlord and tenant have agreed a fixed term in writing. A tenant under an assured tenancy may not be evicted unless the landlord can provide grounds (under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988) or where a break clause has been agreed between the landlord and the tenant.

The consultation closes on 12 October 2019.

What’s next?

Once the consultation closes we can expect draft legislation to effect the government’s proposed reforms.

Interestingly whilst the government moves towards reintroducing security of tenure, the London major Sadiq Khan has confirmed he will demand an overhaul of tenancy laws in a campaign for London rent controls that is set to be the cornerstone of his 2020 re-election campaign.

The government has commented on Khan’s proposal by stating that its proposals to abolish no fault evictions and ending letting fees “will create a housing market that truly works for everyone – in direct contrast to rent controls which could drive responsible landlords out, could reduce investment in high quality housing and ultimately push rents up”.

The good news for tenants is that in the current political climate, both parties appear to have identified a need to redress the balance of power and improve the position of renters.

However, it remains to be seen whether the requirement for a landlord to prove a ground for possession every time they want to terminate a tenancy may well make some reluctant to let out their properties in the first place, reducing the available supply.

The responses to the consultation will certainly make for interesting reading, and both landlords and tenants would be well advised to have their say whilst the government is listening.

Source courtesy of News On The Block

Winter Maintenance for your Development Landscape

Do not slack on apartment landscaping maintenance during winter months or you could be paying an ugly price in the summer.

The winter months do not obviate the need for apartment landscaping maintenance. Giving lawns, plants, trees and shrubs the attention during this time ensures that the development grounds transform into lush and colourful landscapes when spring arrives.

Outdoor space is extremely important in keeping the feel and look of a development. Giving in later months a place for people to meet and relax. In the colder weather sprinkler systems left on can be particularly susceptible to temperature changes. Freezes can damage pipes and require immediate attention, so it is best to periodically check the system for leaks using zone-by-zone tests. Drain and test winterized systems zone-by-zone for repairs prior to spring.

With warmer temperatures, the potential for earlier germination of weeds is certainly possible. Apply herbicides and fertilisers now to fight weed germination that typically begins in April in slightly warmer climates.

Additionally, the landscape will need nutrients that it may not otherwise get from normal rainfall. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to ensure the lawn and vegetation has everything it needs to blossom in the spring. About half of the nutrients and nitrogen release in the initial application to give the landscape a jump. The rest will release over the next few months and stabilise growth. Green grass always looks better than brown!

Take advantage of those warmer days to do general clean up around the grounds. Clean leaves and dead plants out of beds and cut back grasses. The landscape will have a head start for new growth when warmer temperatures return for good.

For more tips on making the most of your development and to see how we uniquely manage many developments across the UK, why not get in touch with the Inspired Property Management team 01302 729500.