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Energy Performance Certificates
7 May 2008 From 1st October 2008, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be required whenever a property is let to a new tenant.

Therefore, the majority of student properties will require a certificate in time for the next house hunting season, beginning around January 2009. The EPC must be made available to prospective tenants and a copy must be given to the tenant who takes the property. To avoid the rush, you could consider obtaining the certificate over the summer break, when student tenants are not in occupation.

What is an Energy Performance Certificate?

The EPC shows the energy efficiency rating of a property, in much the same way as energy ratings for appliances, on a scale from A-G. ‘A’ represents the most efficient, whilst ‘G’ is the least. The certificate shows the current rating of a property as well as the potential rating of the property if certain recommended improvements are implemented. The recommendations range from energy efficient light bulbs to cavity wall insulation.

How long does an EPC last?

The certificate lasts for 10 years and can be used as many times as is necessary during that time.

Who can provide an EPC?

An EPC must be provided by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) or Home Inspector (HI). A complete list of all suitably qualified DEA’s and HI’s is available on the Energy Performance Certificates and Home Condition Report Registers website

If you have already obtained an EPC for your property and can recommend a DEA to others, why not post their details on our landlord’s forum:


Further information

Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes

Energy Saving Trust
Tenant Deposit Scheme Update
4 Dec 2006 The National Landlords Association (NLA) has announced that, in partnership with Hamilton Fraser Insurance (HFIS plc), it has been awarded a government contract to operate an insurance-based tenancy deposit protection scheme. The NLA will sponsor the scheme which Hamilton Fraser will administer.

The Housing Act 2004 requires the Government to introduce mandatory tenancy deposit protection. With effect from 6 April 2007 any landlord taking and holding a deposit on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in England and Wales will by law be required to be a member of such a scheme.

The scheme will safeguard tenants’ deposits, ensure that they get part or all of their deposit back at the end of the tenancy if they are entitled to, and offer an alternative way of resolving disputes.

The Scheme will be the only tenancy deposit protection scheme that is specifically designed for landlords wishing to hold deposit money themselves during a tenancy.

Lettings agents and other third parties acting on behalf of landlords, as individual landlords, will be eligible to join the NLA scheme.

UPDATE: If you wish to register to be advised of developments from the NLA, visit http://www.mydeposits.co.uk where you can also read more about the insurance-backed deposit scheme. The FAQ's on this site are also very helpful.
Landlords looking to let from Sept 07
13 Nov 2006 The University of Kent website accommodation list will be released on Friday 26th January 07. If your current tenants are finishing next June, and you are looking to advertise on the university accomodation list, please contact Jackie Warden.
New housing development planned
24 Aug 2006 Plans have been submitted to the city council for approval for a new housing development on the Kent University campus.

The multi-million pound planning application includes 64 student flats, incorporating 450 new bedrooms, pavilion, conference and academic facilities incorporating 100 bedrooms and new 500-seater lecture theatre.

If approved, the buildings will go up in Darwin Field, off Giles Lane. The work is planned to be completed for the September 2008 intake.

The planning application can be viewed on the council's website  

 

Part time job hunting on the rise
07 Aug 2006 Almost half of the UK's students take on part-time work in term-time, earning £2.3bn a year, a study suggests. Students worked an average of 16 hours a week, with 20% doing more than 20, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) found. Two in every five students will work part-time to earn some extra cash.

The research found those in Belfast and Glasgow were most likely to have a job - 62% and 60% respectively. Some 2,648 students in 26 towns were interviewed. Those in Leeds worked the longest hours at 21 a week, while those in Durham worked the least time (12.4 hours). The most popular part-time jobs were in bars and clothes shops, but more unusual occupations included life guards, musicians, nail technicians and autocue operators.

The RBS found that, over the next year, students would spend £10bn on accommodation and living costs. Of this, approximately £3.7bn would go on rent, £995m on supermarket food shopping, £688m on going out, £404m on books and course materials and £306m on music and CDs.
 

 

HMO licensing in full force
01 Aug 2006 On 6 July new rules governing the upkeep of large, shared rental property in England came into force. Residents in houses of multiple occupation (HMO) suffer a higher incidence of death and injury as a result of accidents than other types of property, so the government has introduced legislation in the Housing Act 2004 to improve the quality and safety of rental properties.

Larger HMOs with three or more stories and five or more unrelated occupants will need a licence granted by the local council. Under the new rules the quality of HMOs nationwide should improve over time and tenants will benefit from knowing that their house is up to scratch.

HMOs must meet rigorous fire standards. They need fire doors, emergency lights, alarms in the mains power supply, signs on the walls for the escape routes and door locks will have to be fitted. Also as part of this new licensing regime, local authorities will have to carry out basic checks on individual landlords to make sure that they are a “fit and proper person”.

The fees for the licence vary between local authorities, with costs over £1,000 in some areas. Canterbury is currently charging up to £330 per property to obtain a licence. Landlords can be subject to a fine of up to £20,000 if they own an HMO after 6 July and do not have a licence. You should contact Private Sector Housing at the council for any further information.
 

 

Students at risk from burglary
01 Aug 2006 Today's students own more expensive consumer goods per head than the rest of the population. Many students bring expensive, luxury items such as mobile phones, iPods, digital cameras and DVD players when they move out of home. According to Churchill Insurance, students in the UK collectively took possessions worth a total of £2.5bn with them to university last year.

Students' average insurance claim was £852 and the kit in a student room was worth an average of £3,000. Obviously, students must make sure that they are adequately covered for the loss of their goods (especially when we consider that most students also own their own PC or laptop, often worth in excess of £1,000).

You should check whether you have cover under your parents' home insurance policy. Many companies offer cover for students away from home although you should carefully check the small print to ensure that your more expensive items are covered, and whether you are only covered for a break-in, rather than walk-in theft or theft/loss in transit. If you are not covered, we would suggest that before you take out insurance, shop around for the best quote for you and check what you are covered for.