London Borough of Redbridge

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1 London Borough of Redbridge Private Rented Sector Scheme 1

2 London Borough Of Redbridge Private Rented Sector (PRS) Scheme Redbridge Council is aiming to increase its work within the private rented sector in order to help the borough overcome the shortage of properties available to assist families with housing needs. To ease the pressures on the London Borough of Redbridge, the council has set up a new PRS Scheme. The team comprises both procurement and tenancy sustainment. Our aim is to improve accessibility, lines of communication and quality of service offered to landlords. The Lettings Negotiator will act as the first point of contact between tenants and landlords to ensure the following: Properties are let within a short period of time. Rents are paid on time. Properties are maintained to a good standard. All tenancies are monitored to minimize the risk of a breach. Named contact is available to address any tenancy related matter. We understand that as a landlord, it is important your investment is protected and it is imperative that every reasonable effort is made from the outset ensuring the risk of a tenancy failing is reduced. We have an experienced team of staff with an excellent working knowledge of housing benefit, legislation and tenancy law. They will provide a comprehensive support service to both tenants and landlords. There has never been a better time to work directly with Redbridge Council to let your property, and in doing so accessing the many benefits - currently on offer. Why let your property through Redbridge Council s PRS scheme? We do not charge for our service, it is completely free! Redbridge Council is committed to providing landlords with the highest quality of service. Our aim is to enhance both the user experience and quality of service offered to landlords. Through our dedicated team of experienced Lettings Negotiators, we will act as a first point of contact for landlords and tenants during the life of the tenancy and will be on hand to deal with all tenancy related queries. Usually, the Lettings Negotiators will be able to resolve most queries. However, in the event that additional information is required, we will liaise with all relevant persons, including partner councils, to ensure matters are resolved quickly and efficiently. Property Inspections All properties will be inspected to ensure they meet property standards. During the inspection you will be advised on any health and safety issues, defects or repairs required to ensure the property meets recommended standards. You will be provided with a written report detailing any works required before the property can be let. 2

3 Following the inspection, you will be advised on the documents you will need to proceed with the sign up. These will include: A valid gas safety certificate A valid electrical safety certificate Energy Performance Certificate Proof of ownership details Tenants The PRS is an attractive option for families in need of accommodation. Usually, a stumbling block for families is obtaining the deposit and advance rent to help secure a property. As a result families usually approach their council to assist with finding suitable accommodation in the PRS. Redbridge Council provides a service to help landlords let their property through the PRS Scheme. Usually, households who are staying in temporary accommodation provided by the council. Before a household is accepted on the scheme, the following checks are carried out: Families are assessed to ensure they are not intentionally homeless, for example their reason for homelessness was through no fault of their own. Families are interviewed by the Council s Housing Options Team to ensure they are deemed suitable to manage and maintain their tenancy; Where applicable, previous landlords will be contacted to confirm suitability of the tenant. Families have no history of anti-social behavior or rent arrears. A tenant will not be agreed for assistance via the scheme if there is a concern or a doubt regarding their suitability. Our aim is to do as much as we can from the outset to ensure the risk of a tenancy breakdown is kept to a minimum. Tenancy Agreements You will be expected to sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement for a minimum of 12 months. Usually, the tenancy will be between the landlord and tenant (We are happy for landlords to provide their own tenancy). A tenancy preparation service is available should you need it. It is important to remember that a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document once it has been signed. If there is anything you do not understand you should get advice from a solicitor or an advice agency before signing. Rent and Deposit In most cases the rent will be paid directly to the landlord from the tenant s Housing Benefit. Any shortfalls in rent will need to be met by the tenant. We are able to provide advice and assistance with setting up standing orders to ensure, where rental contributions separate from Housing Benefit do apply, they are paid on time. 3

4 Landlords will be offered either a cash deposit or a bond agreement, depending on the location of the property, which is usually equal to one month s rent. The Council will pay one month s rent in advance. Deposit bonds are not required to be registered with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Local Housing Allowance (LHA) If the tenant is entitled to housing benefit, the amount they will receive will firstly be dependent on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). The claim is then assessed taking into account their income, savings and household size. In some cases, we can provide information before a tenancy is signed on whether the household is entitled to receive full housing benefit. The LHA rates are published at the beginning of April and are valid for the one year. You can check LHA figures using the rate finder on the following link: Checking the rates will help you find out how much rent you can achieve in advance. It s a transparent way for landlords to find out how much rent they can achieve on a property. We will assist the tenant with completing the necessary forms for Housing Benefit and ensure they are submitted to the relevant Housing Benefit department within a set time. There can sometimes be a delay at the start of the tenancy, while the claim is being assessed, although usually, a fast track approach is adopted. Housing Benefit rents are paid every four weeks in arrears. What to do next If you are a landlord or a property agent and wish to either offer your property to let or require further information then please contact the team who will be happy to assist. Please ensure you have the following information to hand: Full property address Size of property Availability date The Team will explain the lettings process to you and provide you with specific scheme details depending on the location of your property. Contact Us If you are interested in finding out more or have a property you wish to let, please do not hesitate to contact us on: Mobile: Landline:

5 Frequently Asked Questions: Q: Who is responsible for meeting rent payments once the property has been let? The tenant is responsible to ensure all rent due under the terms of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement is paid on time each month (or as stated in the tenancy agreement). Q: When will I receive rent payments? Rent is usually paid every four weeks in arrears. The average time for a council to process a claim is between 4-6 weeks. A Lettings Negotiator will monitor the tenancy during the early stages of the tenancy. The Lettings Negotiator will be working closely with the tenant and relevant council to ensure the rents are in paid within four weeks. In the event there is likely to be a delay, the Lettings Negotiator will be in communication with you to ensure you are made aware. Q: What happens if the tenant breaches their tenancy? It is important you contact the Lettings Negotiator to make them aware of the breach. Where necessary the Lettings Negotiator will try to mediate and resolve the breach. Should the matter not be resolved to your satisfaction, you will be provided with further advice and information regarding possible steps you can take to resolve the issue. Q: Who manages the property? The tenancy agreement will be between you and the tenant. It will be your responsibility to manage the property. Redbridge Council provides a tenancy support and sustainment service to both landlords and tenants but do not manage the property. The Lettings Negotiator can be contacted should you have any concerns with regards to your tenant or any tenancy related matter. Q: How do I renew the tenancy? There is no need to renew the tenancy, as it will automatically run from one period to the next on the same terms as the previous fixed term tenancy. This is called a statutory periodic tenancy. However, should you wish to extend the agreement you can contact the Lettings Negotiator who will be happy to assist with the renewal. Q: The tenant has damaged my property. What should I do? It is your tenant s responsibility to ensure the property is maintained to reasonable standard. Should this not be the case and the property is damaged as a result of the tenant s negligence, you can claim against the deposit / bond under the terms of your agreement. Further information is available on request. Q: I want the tenant to leave. How do I evict them? 5

6 You will need to serve the appropriate notice should you wish to take back possession of your property. The type of notice differs depending on whether you wish to take back possession of the property during or at the end of the tenancy. Please contact a Lettings Negotiator for further information. Property Standards; Most properties will need to meet the standards set out below. Further information is available on request. External property standards Roof Roof to be water tight and free from defects, loose or missing tiles Guttering Pipes to be secured to walls, gutters free from blockages and in good repair Garden Clear of rubbish with vegetation, shrubs and trees to be cut back Fences to be in good order Gate/s to operate and gate posts/pillars to be secure Sheds or ancillary buildings to be in good repair safe otherwise to be removed or made unavailable to occupiers Rubbish Bins to be provided Internal property standards Doors External locks to be in good working order and secure External door to open freely and have a bell fitted Staircases Gaps between spindles to be no more than 100mm and gaps in staircases to be filled in Two way light switch to be provided in stairwell Walls and ceilings Damp Property to be free from damp, mould, condensation and peeling paper 6

7 Condensation Condensation will occur, at some time, in all homes. Condensation problems due to structural features should not be so pervasive as to constitute a health hazard or be a statutory nuisance Plaster To be sound and not to show movement when examined Decoration Surfaces to be painted or papered Paint to be clean and free from obvious markings and dirt Wallpaper to be in good condition and free from defects Wood to be free from rot and painted to a reasonable standard with gloss paint Room standards Kitchen Sockets Two double sockets at worktop height Two low level sockets (for fridge and washing machine) Cooker Sink Gas hob (preferred) All rings to operate If free standing, cooker to be chained to wall Oven to be clean and with shelves Landlord to provide safety certificate (as part of gas safety) Tiling of splash back to a minimum of 300mm (two tiles high) Sinks and worktops to be sealed around edges with silicone sealant Waste pipes and taps to be defect free with no leaks or drips (must be sealed so as not to allow ingress of vermin) Taps should be easy to operate Units to be provided Two fitted floor units (excluding the sink unit) Minimum of two drawers per unit Units to be free from defects Fridge Clean and in good working order 7

8 Washing machine Washing machines not essential but if provided: Appropriate fittings to allow installation of a washing machine Non-return valve to be fitted to the waste pipe Floor covering Must be free from defects Gas Stopcock location to be identified Living area and bedrooms Carpet Carpet to be clean and of reasonable quality, free from defects (tainting and excessive wear) Curtains Curtain rails to be securely fitted above all windows Curtains to be clean and free from defects Preferred nets to be fitted to all windows Light fittings If provided, free from defects Windows/glazing Any windows above ground level, which open outwards and could present a danger to a child should be fitted with restrictors Windows in bathrooms and toilets must be glazed with obscure glass or be treated with plastic film to provide some level of privacy New or replacement glazing installed after April 2002 should be energy saving sealed double glazing and comply with building regulations. To prove compliance it should have: A certificate showing that the work has been carried out by an installer registered to the FENSA scheme A certificate from the local authority confirming that the installation has approval under the current building regulations All glazing, which is under 800mm/2.8 feet from the floor (greater than 25cm in any direction) to be re-glazed with toughened glass or have safety film properly applied to prevent shattering if it breaks Ventilation The general requirement for ventilation is that all main habitable rooms (living rooms and bedrooms) should have at least one twentieth of the floor area available as windows that can open. This also applies to kitchens, bathrooms 8

9 and WC cubicles if they rely on natural ventilation If, a kitchen, bathroom or a WC is an internal room it should have mechanical extract ventilation. If mechanical ventilation is required in a kitchen it should be capable of one air change per hour If mechanical ventilation is required in a bathroom and/or WC it should be capable of three air changes per hour. A light switch should actuate it and a fan should have a twenty minutes overrun when the light is switched off. Insulation All accessible loft spaces should have a minimum of 100mm Rock Wool insulation, (or equivalent) properly laid All hot water tanks should be foam lagged or have a good quality cylinder jacket, which has been properly fitted All water pipes considered to be liable to damage by frost should be adequately protected with lagging Certificates required A current gas safety certificate, this must have no items marked as requiring urgent attention or investigation A current electrical safety report, this must have no items marked as requiring urgent attention or investigation A 3 star service contract for the heating and hot water system (preferred) A certificate of buildings insurance if requested Documentary proof of ownership of the property if requested Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) 9

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