Council’s Team will be carrying out a survey of private rented accommodation in to establish whether properties are eligible for help with heating and insulation which, in some cases, may be free of charge.

Residents and owner-occupiers will receive a letter prior to the survey, explaining that an officer from the private sector housing team will be visiting in the near future.

A free follow-up home safety check, provided by the fire service, will also be arranged, as well as the opportunity to address any identified health and safety issues.

The survey will enable the council to develop a clearer picture of both the type and nature of housing occupation in the area and target energy efficiency programmes.

Those tenants who live in properties which have been accredited by their landlord as part of the council’s accreditation schemes will not be visited as they already comply with the minimum standards and in many cases exceed them.

Landlords are encouraged to join the council’s accreditation schemes, which have numerous benefits, with details available on the council’s website or by contacting the private sector housing team, on (01482) 396301.

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Nov 192011
 
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A recent review shown on the BBC’s breakfast programme suggests that millions of people face a “bleak old age” because they are falling through the cracks of pension provision.

The Workplace Retirement Income commission says 14 million people are not saving into a workplace pension scheme at all and those who are in a scheme, often get charged too much for a service that is complicated and inefficient.  The Pensions Minister Steve Webb described the review as “a wake-up call”.

Changes being introduced in 2012 will see workers automatically enrolled into a pension scheme, unless they earn a very low wage or opt out themselves.  The review said the should consider increasing the minimum amount that is contributed by these workers.  It also made the following recommendations:-

- Charges – it claimed were too opaque.  It said bigger, lower-cost pension schemes should be able to operated.
- Annuities – it said should be more flexible and suggested people should be directed to an annuity price comparison site.
- Risk – should be mitigated for those in defined contribution schemes, according to the review.
- Cultural change – saving should be encouraged.
- Stability – with a commission set up to oversee long-term pension policy.

Mr Webb said the review gave “a very serious warning and wake-up call” and that “unless people started saving now for their retirement they could find themselves enduring “a pretty meagre existence” in the future.

cba financial services limited broadly welcomed the report.  Paul Hegarty, Pensions Specialist said “It has been clear for a long time that people are shying away from contributing to pensions, mostly due to the bad press they have received.  Modern pension contracts are low-cost, flexible and available with a risk level to suit the individual.

Many of the historic problems have been eliminated.  As chartered financial planners, cba financial services limited is committed to finding the most appropriate solution for all retirement needs.  High quality advice from a truly independent financial adviser is essential to ensure retirement is not spent in poverty.”

For more information please call cba financial services on 01482 881919 or visit www.cba-partnership.com

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of Yorkshire Council’s Team is inviting private landlords, who own properties in the area, to attend one of three business seminar events taking place in November.

The seminars are free events and include workshops looking at excess cold, damp and mould growth within properties and what landlords can do to prevent it occurring and what works need to be carried out to remedy the hazards.

An update will also be given about changes, changes to legislation, landlord training and the new Green Deal and Energy Efficiency Bill.

Seminars will be held on Thursday, 10 November at Park Golf Centre, Tuesday, 15 November in the Waterfront Suite at Leisure Centre and on Wednesday, 23 November in the Harbour Suite at The Spa .

These informal events have been organised as part of council’s commitment to working in partnership with private landlords and promoting responsible letting.

All events will take place between 6-8.30pm.

If you would like to book a place or would like further information, call (01482) 396301 (selecting option 2) or email private.sector.housing@eastriding.gov.uk

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The team will be running a landlord training session at Adult Learning @ , Adult Education Centre, Kings Street, on Monday, 7 November, from 1-4pm.

This is a free training session to landlords, who own and manage property in the , designed to give information and guidance on how to end a tenancy.

The session covers the serving of Section 8 and Section 21 notices and provides guidance on how landlords can legally evict tenants in the private rented sector.

For further information about this course, or to book a place, call (01482) 396301, selecting option 2, or visit www.eastriding.gov.uk

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To celebrate the first anniversary of the Accredited Home and Accredited Home of Excellence Schemes, for landlords with properties in the area, of Yorkshire Council is giving away £200 worth of paint vouchers donated by Dulux.

Accreditation is free and landlords receive a package of benefits, including access to a free advice line, a ‘shop and save’ scheme that entitles them to discounts from certain retailers, a membership certificate and the right to use the accreditation scheme logo on their letterheads and publicity material.

Since their launch, both schemes have been well-received by landlords, with those joining saving on costs for compliance with regulations and also attracting good standards of tenant.

The aim of the prize draw is to promote the schemes and encourage more landlords to sign up.

Areas with good take up have shown fewer problems for tenants and less enforcement is required, saving the council time and resources as landlords are self-regulating.

To be in with a chance of winning the vouchers, all landlords have to do is accredit one of their rental properties, within the East Riding, before the end of October.

For more information, contact the team on (01482) 396301 or email privatesector.@eastriding.gov.uk

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The council is aware of the high density of private rented accommodation in the and Hessle areas and also that there is a higher number of service requests and complaints from residents in both areas.

As a result and following on from the successful Advance private rented inspection programme, which helped ensure homes were meeting the minimum legal standards as well as providing valuable assistance to landlords, a similar survey of residents will now take place in parts of Hessle and Cottingham.

The survey will enable the council to develop a clearer picture of both the type and nature of housing occupation in the area and residents will receive a letter this week about the survey and explaining that an officer from the housing team will be visiting in the near future.

While the main aim of the survey is to help improve standards of pubic health by ensuring that privately rented homes are meeting the minimum legal standards, staff will also determine whether tenants and owner occupiers are eligible for help with the heating and insulation of their homes which, in some cases, may be free of charge.

Where a tenant or owner occupier does not want to participate they can contact the council and no visit will be made.

Those tenants who live in properties which have been accredited by their landlord as part of the council’s accreditation schemes will not be visited as they already comply with the minimum standards and in many cases exceed them.

The benefits of a visit include a follow up home safety check by the Fire Service, the focussing of energy efficiency programmes in the area and the opportunity to address any identified health and safety issues.

Landlords are encouraged to join the council’s accreditation schemes, which have numerous benefits, with details available on the council’s website or by contacting Sarah Horner, landlord liaison officer, on (01482) 396028.

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A Kilnsea landlord has lost her appeal against an improvement notice served by Council and has to pay the costs for the notice that was served.

Mrs Edith Clarke of Station Road, Otley, appealed against the issue of an improvement notice served on Rose Cottage, Kilnsea Road, Kilnsea. The improvement notice required the landlord to carry out works to the property, which included installing heating to the house and providing adequate fire precautions. In addition the council required Mrs Clarke to obtain a structural survey of the property to determine its stability and to ensure that the electrical installation was safe due to the poor condition of the property.

In a case heard by the Residential Property Tribunal, they upheld the service of the improvement notices dated 10 January 2011 and the section 49 demand for payment. Mrs Clarke now has seven months to complete the works as listed on the improvement notice.

The Act 2004 introduced the system of assessing the condition of residential properties and provides local authorities with guidance in the way in which they can enforce standards. The Health and Safety Rating System used by local authorities assess the condition of residential properties and enable the identification and assessment of the risk posed by the hazard. Once a local authority has identified serious hazards within dwellings it must take appropriate enforcement action. This legislation was introduced to protect the health, safety and well-being of occupiers within their home.

After consideration the local authority served Mrs Clarke with an improvement notice requiring her to carry out works within the property to reduce the hazards.

Landlords who do not agree with the decision of the council to serve a notice have the right to appeal to the Residential Property Tribunal. This is a public body established through legislation giving them powers to settle certain disputes which would otherwise be dealt with by the courts.

In their decision, the tribunal stated that the local authority was correct in deciding to serve and improvement notice and was the most appropriate enforcement action taken in respect of the hazards within the property and the works required in the improvement notice was reasonable and proportionate.

Paul Abbott, public protection group manager at of Yorkshire Council, said: “In the interests of safety, the council is committed to ensuring that all residents have a safe and healthy home in which to live. We carry out lots of work to ensure that landlords are educated on their responsibilities and have introduced free training to landlords on how to inspect their properties and recognise hazards within their properties.

“Landlords need to be aware of their legal responsibilities and the potential consequences of not complying with the legislation, and are urged to contact the housing team to discuss any concerns they have.”

Full details of the Residential Property Tribunals decision are available on their website.

For more information and advice about the requirements for landlords, contact the private sector housing team, on (01482) 396301.

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of Yorkshire Council’s Team will be running a landlord training session at Adult Education Centre, Kings Street, on Monday, 6 June, from 1-4pm.

The private sector housing team provides a range of free training sessions to landlords, who own and manage property in the East Riding, designed to give information and guidance on all aspects of being a landlord.

Monday’s course is ideal for new landlords and provides an introduction to the basics of setting up and maintaining a tenancy within the private rented sector.

Landlords will gain a basic understanding of different tenancy agreements, their legal responsibilities, and the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant throughout the tenancy duration as well as sharing of best practice ideas.

The course also gives landlords an understanding of different types of tenancies; tenancy schemes, responsibilities and liabilities during a tenancy, legal responsibility of landlords, what harassment is, how to legally increase rent and identify Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

The council also run courses in ending a tenancy and inspecting residential properties.

For further information about any of these courses, or to book a place, call (01482) 396301 and select option two or visit www.eastriding.gov.uk

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Two more derelict houses could be turned into homes again after they were identified as eye-sores by Council.

The council’s team is working towards compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for the properties which will then be sold on to developers who agree to bring them up to a decent standard.

A notice has already been posted at a property in Lansdowne Road, , and the council is also preparing to take action at a property in which has drawn complaints from neighbours.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for cultural services, housing and public protection at the council, said: “Putting these properties back into use will not only provide homes for people, it will also help to keep the looking its best.

“The deterioration of an empty property can have a noticeable affect on the area. We can understand how people living near these properties feel, as they do not want to be affected by the possibility of fly tipping, anti-social behaviour or other problems empty homes can attract.

“Ideally we would always choose to work with the owners of an empty building to make sure it is put to good use, but where this is not possible we can choose to use a to resolve the situation.”

The latest CPOs follow recent success in Seaton Road, Hessle, where a derelict three bedroom mid-terraced property was bought by the council. After the council completed the CPO process The Lands Tribunal set a price of £65,000. The house was then sold on the market for £68,000.

Terms of the sale included a time scale for the new owner to complete the refurbishment work to the house, which will ensure that the property is renovated and re-occupied.

The result will be beneficial to the whole of the Seaton Road area and demonstrates that the council is dedicated to improving residents’ quality of life.

Three empty properties in will also be put back into use after the council negotiated to buy them from their owners, avoiding the CPO process.

Most empty properties are brought back into use by informal negotiation with the owner. Should that fail compulsory purchase under The Housing Act (1985) is the last resort to restore a home to use.

Anyone concerned about an empty property should contact Roger Curry, empty property officer, on (01482) 396016.

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Landlords throughout the are being invited to business seminars which will explain recent changes to the law.

Two informal events are being held in and by Council’s team as part of the council’s commitment to working in partnership with private landlords and promoting responsible letting.

The seminars will provide information about issues including imminent changes and amendments to legislation around the rental of properties.

Those taking part will also hear from a local landlord about best practice and the use of tenant guarantors.

The event in Goole will also include a update presentation on the additional licensing scheme which has recently been introduced in the town, while those who attend the event in Bridlington will be able to discuss the level of fire precautions acceptable in properties.

Sarah Horner, the council’s landlord liaison officer, has helped to organise the events. She said:  “The seminars will be a useful opportunity for private landlords to put their questions to us and share their ideas in a relaxed and informal setting.”

The first seminar will be held on Thursday, 17 March, in the Waterfront Suite at Goole Leisure Centre, while the second will be held on Monday, 28 March, in the Harbour Suite at The Spa Bridlington.

Both events will take place between 6pm and 8.30pm.

For more information or to book a place on either seminar please email private.sector.housing@eastriding.gov.uk stating which you would like to attend as well as your name, address and contact phone number or call the private sector housing team on (01482) 396301 selecting option 2.

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