Landlord Law Newsletter
Standard version Month Year
In this Issue:
Monthly tips
Gree tip of the month
Tax tip
HMOs & Credit Unions
Tips on using Landlord Law
Whats New?
Special Offers
Tessa's Talks
Tax Cafe Guides
Our sponsors, Shergroup
Recent News
Monthly Cartoon
Concluding comments
Quick Links:
Tessa Sheppersontop
Dear Everyone
 
Thank you for signing up for our new newsletter.  As you see, it is quite a change, plus I have a new photo.  I am now using a specialist company to manage the newsletter now (called Constant Contact), which will make life a bit easier for me.  However most of the regular features remain the same, in particular the tips and news, which I know many of you enjoy reading.

You will find sets of links to your left, one set to the different sections of this newsletter, the other with some 'quick links' plus all my social media links.  Please feel free to connect with me either on twitter or on Linkedin.  If connecting on Linkedin, say that you are a Landlord Law member.

With the new newsletter, I have introduced a new 'green tip of the month' feature.  However as I am not a landlord myself, I will need your help here.  If you have any tips for keeping or making your properties green, please send them to me, letting know if I can attribute the tip to you (if so give your name) or whether you prefer it to be anonymous.

I will also now be conducting regular surveys and polls (another feature I get with Constant Contact), to help me develop and improve my service (already I have had some good suggestions - Susan, I will try to get that tenancy deposit scheme comparison page done you asked for). 

I hope you like the new newsletter, and if you have any comments, please do let me know.  You can email me, as always, at tessa@landlordlaw.co.uk.

Your sincerely,
 
Tessa Shepperson
Multiple newsletters and unsubscribing
This newsletter is the standard version. If you are an annual member, you should have already received the members newsletter (if you have not, please email me).  As you will only want to recieve one copy, I would suggest that you unsubscribe from this newsletter.  You can do this by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom.
Monthly TipsMonthly Tips - this month, Housing Benefit
Tips for landords
When taking on a housing benefit tenant it is important to get them to sign a letter of authority to the Housing benefit office.  If you do not do this, the benefit office will refuse to speak to you, citing the Data Protection Act.  If the tenant wants to pay you direct (which local authorities will no longer do for Local Housing Allowance payments) see if you can find a local Credit Union  who will be willing to have the benefit paid via them.  Credit Unions who offer this service will open a special account, ring fence the LHA and pay it out to the landlord.  This way it will not get spent by the tenant by mistake or be swallowed up by his overdraft.
 
Tips for tenants
If you lose your job, make sure that you apply as soon as possible for benefit, as it may take some time for the application to be processed, and your landlord will not be happy if his rent payments are delayed.  If they are delayed for more than eight weeks this may even put you at risk of eviction.  Try to see if you can to get the rent paid direct to the Landlord via a Credit Union account - this will ensure that your rent is paid over to your landlord.  Otherwise it could be swallowed up by your overdraft or even offset by your bank against other debts, which would put your home at risk.

Follow the links for more information on credit unions and to download a letter of authority (annual members only)
 
Green TipsGreen Tip of the month
Some councils provide a special garden waste bin, which is collected separately and the contents composted.  In Norwich (where I live) this is the brown bin.  There is a modest annual fee for this (about £38) however it makes clearing the garden that much easier.  If your property has a garden, consider paying for this for your tenants (or if you are a tenant, consider signing up for this if your landlord does not provide it).  It will encourage tenants to keep the garden tidy and will help the environment.

As I am not a landlord I need your suggestions for this section!  Please send your green tips, to tessa@landlordlaw.co.uk headed 'Green tip of the month'. 

Tax TipTax Tip - from Tax Insider Magazine 
Selling at the Right Time Can Save You Tax!
The time when you decide to sell a property can have a significant bearing on how much tax you will save. If you expect to dispose of a number of properties in the same year, then try to sell them in different tax years to make use of your annual CGT allowance (currently £10,100 for the 2009-2010 tax year).

With just some simple tax planning you can phase the selling of properties/assets to make sure that you always utilise your CGT allowance. Remember your CGT allowance cannot be carried forward, so it is a case of use it don't lose it! If you have two people owning a property then each person can claim the CGT allowance.
 
You can read more tax tips in the Tax Insider Magazine (see the November issue here)
ListsLists - HMO license fees & Credit Unions
HMO license fees
We are compiling a list of local authority license fees, to assist landlords and for general interest. We would be grateful if you could help us by letting us know the fees for your local authority, if these are not already listed. You will find the current list in the arrow Landlords HMO section.

Credit unions
We are also compiling a list of Credit Unions which will arrange to receive Local Housing Allowance payments for onward payment to landlords. You can read more and see the current list arrow here.

Please send information for either list, to me at tessa@landlordlaw.co.uk.

Landlord Law logo Tips on using Landlord Law
This month - the Rent Arrers Action Plan
I wrote about this in the newsletter when it first came out last spring, but in view of the problems being experienced by many landlords with tenants falling into arrears, I think it is worth covering it again. 

Basically the plan is a step by step guide to help landlords deal with tenants falling into arrears from day one.  The action plan has five sections:

Preliminary matters. This should be read first and covers things such as dealing with paperwork, using the forms, and some initial considerations.

Stage 1. This stage looks at what to do when the tenant first falls into arrears, and provides precedent letters you can sent to the tenant requesting payment. It also considers whether personal contact with the tenant is advisable, gives advice on reaching agreements (with another precedent letter you can use if an agreement is reached), and provides a checklist.

Stage 2. This starts when the tenant is in arrears of two months, and deals with service of notices. These are available for you to download with advice on their use. This section also looks at preparing a proper schedule of rent arrears, and considers housing benefit tenants. There is another checklist for this stage, which also covers stage 3.

Stage 3. This section considers proceedings for possession, whether it is appropriate for your case, and if so which type of claim should be used.

Stage 4. This stage considers bringing proceedings for debt only (i.e. not for possession) and considers when this is suitable. There is another checklist for stage 4. Note that if separate court proceedings are appropriate, annual members can now download our kit 1 at no extra charge.

The action plan is only available to Landlord Law annual members.  
 
 
What's NewWhats new on Landlord Law?
New on the site
We don't have much new content this month, as I have been so busy on other things, such as my blog (a new blog is due to be launched shortly), the surveys, and this newsletter. The only real new content is arrow this months poll on tenancy agreements.

New on the discussion forum
In the old newsletter I had links to discussions on the forum.  However the new newsletter system won't let me link directly to forum entries!   
 
However we have had some interesting discussions this month, for example on ambiguous clauses in contracts, and evicting tenants online, to name just two.
 
 
Back to the top of the page
 
Special OfferSpecial Offers
From time to time we negotiate special deals with suppliers for Landlord-law members and readers of this newsletter. For example discounts on services or other financial incentives.

Current special offers include:
  • Alan Boswell - a  special buildings insurance tailored for landlords. Annual members only.  arrow Click here for more information and an online quotation engine   
  • The Tenant Find Service from Discount Letting, which will showcase your property on numerous property portals in the UK - 17% discount for Landlord-Law members. Go arrow www.discountletting.co.uk for more information about the service, and the arrow special offers section on Landlord-Law to find out how to claim your discount
  • Global Recoveries Ltd - a 5% discount for Landlord-Law members on the cost of overseas debt recovery work from this specialist company - arrow read about them here.
For the full list of offers available, see the arrow special offers section.

Tessa TalksTessa's Talks
I continue to do short talks for Local Authority forums and other events, and for Landlords Associations if requested.
 
My next talk will be for ProConferences when I will  be doing a session on tenancy deposits for their solicitors' Residential Landlord & Tenant Update on 2 December in London.  See arrow here for details.

For more information about my talks, or if you would like me to do a talk for your organisation click here to see arrow my talks page.

Testimonial: James Kelly, Landlord Liaison Officer, Suffolk Coastal District Council: "Thank you for your excellent presentation. We always have more landlords at our meetings when everyone knows you will be there. You have proved to be a very informative and popular speaker"

Tax CafeTax Cafe Guides
Landlord Law does not provide tax advice, but a good source of information are  the Tax Café guides, which can be purchased via the arrow Landlord Law Tax Café bookshop.

For example How to Avoid Property Tax, Using a Property Company to Save Tax and How to Avoid Tax on Foreign Property. Also topical is arrow How to Beat the Credit Crunch, by Toby Hone (affiliate links).

Shergroup Logo Services from our sponsors, Shergroup
FREE ringback advice
This is provided on debt collection and enforcement matters for Landlord-Law members.  Complete the online form you will find in the arrow special offers and arrow enforcement sections, send it off to Shergroup with your information (so they can have a think about your problem before speaking to you), and they will ring you back with some free advice!

They can help on all debt collection and enforcement of court judgements problems - not just landlord and tenant matters.

Other Shergroup services
If you are having problems enforcing your money judgement (any money judgement), Landlord-Law members can use enforcement specialists Shergroup (at fixed fees), with the forms in our arrow enforcement section.

Shergroup are also making security services from Shercurity (their security section) available to Landlord-Law members at a special price. For more information see the arrow special offers section. To find out more about Shergroup, see their arrow web-site.

NewsRecent News items
You may also be interested in :
The Landlord Law Charity of the month - this month arrow the Sherbet Foundation, a new charity set up by enforcement company Shergroup 
(If you have any suggestions for this, please arrow email me.)

Law Brief Update, is a monthly e-zine written by a team of specialist barristers.  It is highly recommended if you want to keep up to date with general legal news - it is a free service and you can sign up via their arrow web-site.
Wils Logo Monthy Cartoon
Every month we have a new cartoon from local cartoonist Wil, - but unfortunately not this month as Wil is in hospital with a slipped disc.  However, last months cartoon is worth another look ... 

arrow Click here to view.

Concluding comments
Thats all for this month.  I hope you enjoyed this newsletter.  If you have any comments on this, or indeed on any other matter relating to Landlord Law, you  can always email me at tessa@landlordlaw.co.uk, or (if you are a member) do a post on the members discussion forum. I always welcome feedback, and sometimes this inspires some of our best new content or services. 

If you are not a member, you can find out more about my service from arrow this page and the pages linked from it.

Look after yourselves, stay green, and I look forward to writing to you again next month.