News

April has been an extremely busy month for Tulip

April has been an extremely busy month for Tulip, both in the Sale and Letting side of our business. The appetite for Investment Properties and good quality rented accommodation has not diminished.

We have agreed the sales of eleven investment properties in April with a total value exceeding £1.2 million.

Another busy month has seen seven individual rooms let, four self-contained flats and two houses. For details of how Tulip can help either with our:

‘Let Only’ service which includes, a market appraisal, preparation of property details, advertising on Rigtmove, Zoopla, On the Market, One Dome and where applicable social media and the Tulip window display. We will do all the viewings, process the prospective tenant’s application forms, credit check them, collect the Right to Rent and Anti Money Laundering documents in compliance with the regulations. Receive the first month rent and the deposit. Secure the deposit in the My Deposit Scheme forwarding all the relevant paperwork to both Tenant and Landlord. Complete a Standing Order Mandate for future rent to be paid into your account.

OR

‘Full Management’

All of the above but to include collection of regular rent payments providing a monthly statement of rents collected less any expense. To liaise with the tenant regarding repairs and forward the information to the Owner.

For more information please contact us by emailing contact@tulipestateagents.co.uk or call 01482 346366.

Discrimination

It is unlawful to directly discriminate against people with ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010. This means landlords and agents cannot treat someone less favourably than others just because of their age, sex, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, or gender reassignment.

For example, if an individual branch or member of staff in a letting agency says that someone cannot apply to rent a property they have advertised just because of any of the above, or because they claim benefits that would be unlawful direct discrimination.

It’s just as important to make sure none of your policies and practices are indirectly discriminating either. Indirect discrimination occurs where a practice is not discriminatory in itself but puts people with a protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage when compared to others. For example, a letting agent says that someone cannot apply to rent a property they have advertised because they’re in receipt of housing benefit. Although being a benefit recipient is not a protected characteristic, research suggests this practice puts women and those with a disability at a disadvantage (as they are more likely to require housing benefit than others).

EHRC guidance states that as well as not unlawfully discriminating against a client themselves, property agents should not accept an instruction to discriminate from a property seller or landlord. For example, if a landlord asks a letting agent to say their flat is taken if someone from a particular ethnic background asks about renting it, when the agent agrees they would be just as liable as the landlord for direct discrimination because of race. You may think this type of discrimination is unlikely to happen in the 21st century, but an undercover BBC investigation in 2013 highlighted that some letting agents were willing to discriminate in this way.

The charity Shelter has successfully won a case on behalf of Hayley Pearce at Worthing County Court. The Court declared that Michael Jones & Company unlawfully refused to show Hayley Pearce a potential rental property because she receives benefits. An agency employee told Pearce over the phone that people in receipt of benefits would not be acceptable’ to the landlord, without checking whether she could afford the rent. The Agency was fined £4500 and ordered to pay the claimants costs.

Shelter says: “Hayley’s case against Michael Jones & Company is one of three she has taken on in the last two years, and the only one to reach a final hearing at court. 

“The other two were smart enough to admit their mistakes, settle before trial, and collectively paid Hayley damages and legal costs of almost £15,000 in total.

Eviction

The Government launched a new initiative that came into force on the 4th of May 2021 called the ‘Breathing Space Initiative’ From this date agents and solicitors must include details of the Breathing Space scheme within documentation when seeking to gain possession, or risk the eviction being rejected.

The initiative - formally called the Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 - pauses enforcement action on individuals from creditors including letting agents. It freezes charges, fees and certain interest on qualifying debts for up to 60 days. 

In these circumstances it means landlords must put on hold any action being taken in relation to rent arrears (including court action) for as long as the Breathing Space lasts; and a Section 8 notice cannot be issued for rent arrears (grounds 8,10 & 11) but can on any other available grounds.

Any Section 8 notices issued and served on a tenant from 4th of May 2021 must include details of the Breathing Space scheme.

The changes introduced are to allow those struggling financially to have a limited time in which to seek advice and formulate a plan to move forward.  The scheme will have a large impact on the current processes followed by agents and landlords when taking action against rent arrears, and it is now hugely important that those dealing with rent debt are aware of the new scheme and the changes in working it will bring.

However, this is not a free ride for defaulting tenants. A section 21 notice can still be served and enforced against a tenant subject to a moratorium and so can a section 8 notice citing grounds other than arrears of rent. In addition, it is an absolute requirement of a debt moratorium that a tenant benefitting from it continues to pay their rent for their main home. Failure to comply with the obligations of a debt moratorium, such as ongoing rent payment, permits a landlord to apply to the relevant debt advice organisation for cancellation of the moratorium and if they decline, to the courts to ask for the moratorium to be ended or to permit legal action for eviction on the grounds of arrears to progress. However, the main factor that will also lead to this not being offered in all that many cases is that there must be an overall ability to actually clear the debts. A moratorium is not there to simply delay the inevitable.

There are further moratorium provisions for people suffering a mental health crisis. These are far more powerful but require a certified mental health professional to confirm that the debtor is suffering a mental health crisis and that they need to be protected from their debts on a temporary basis while this is resolved.

It may also drive the use of section 21 notices (at least until they are no longer available) as these will not be restricted by a debt moratorium.

Hinks Insurance

We are pleased to announce that Tulip has become an Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) for Hinks Insurance. Hinks Insurance celebrate their 90th anniversary this year.

Although Hinks are specialists in the property market they can offer a wide range of insurance cover including business, house, and vehicle cover.

Property Owners Insurance.

Regardless of the size of your investment, Hinks are here to help protect your properties.

Hinks offers Property Insurance for commercial and residential property portfolios. Whether you’re looking for small or large scale cover – the policy can provide suitable insurance for your properties. We offer a flexible approach to risk and can provide an adaptable policy to suit your individual requirements.

• Property Damage • Loss of Rent • Alternative Accommodation • Day one Provision • Unoccupied Buildings • Holiday Homes and HMOs • Property Owners Liability • Employers Liability • Legal Expenses • Rent Guarantee • Retail, Commercial, Industrial and Offices • Properties Undergoing Refurbishment Renovation

For more information please contact Tulip by emailing contact@tulipestateagents.co.uk. Alternatively contact Hinks insurance directly on 01482 323424  or email mail@hinks.co.uk and quote ‘Tulip Estate Agents Ltd’

It is your decision whether you choose to deal with Hinks Insurance Brokers. Should you decide to use Hinks Insurance Brokers., you should know that we would receive a referral fee of 50% of the fees or commission they receive for recommending you to them. 

Qualifications

Congratulations to Craig Hitter who passed his final two exams in the Level Three RLPM3: Residential Property Letting Practice (England and Wales) (RLPM3) which is equivalent to an A Level.

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