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Issue Date:- 25/27 August 2008

Legal warning for novice landlords

NOVICE landlords are flooding the buy to let market with properties they are unable to sell, according to reports released this week.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says the slump in house sales is forcing many more people to become either landlords or tenants. In July, RICS members saw new instructions from landlords rise at their fastest rate on record.  However, legal experts say people should beware of the potential pitfalls of becoming a landlord.

Claire Egerton, residential property partner at national law firm Lewis Hymanson Small, said landlord and tenant laws are complex:- “First and foremost, potential landlords need to check with their lender whether they’re able to let out the property before even considering becoming landlords.  Landlords new to the game must recognise their legal responsibilities.

For example, all gas appliances must be properly maintained and an annual safety check should be carried out by a CORGI approved contractor. The landlord should keep a record of these checks and any remedial work carried out, for at least 2 years.  Landlords must provide a copy of the gas safety certificate to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy. Landlords could still be liable for property damage or personal injury to the tenant.

For tenants of course, this is good news as with an increasing number of properties on the rental market, rents are likely to be reduced considerably.”

Robert Jordan, chairman of Jordan’s and founder of the Rent-2-Buy scheme that helps 1st times buyers and novice landlords, said:- “New buy-to-let investors should ensure that they have a proper lease drawn up before they rent out a property. Failure to comply with the assured short hold tenancy legislation could result in not being able to evict tenants who could gain security of tenure.

Novice landlords should also use a professional letting agent either a member of the RICS or ARLA. They will ensure the landlords money is bonded so if the agent goes bust the landlord will get their money. There are lots of Estate Agents offering rental services who are not members of these organizations and landlords money could be at risk."

Robert Jordan has produced a ten-point checklist for new landlords:-

1) Notify your bank or building society if the property is mortgaged and you are planning to let the property.

2) Advise your insurers as your buildings and contents policy will need amending to cover the property against malicious damage and bursts if the property is left empty . There are specialist policies for landlords.

3) Confirm with the freeholder there are no restrictions or covenants which prevent you from letting the property

4) Pay taxes - if you are residing outside the UK and you are using an agent you need to register with HMRC to enable you to get your rent paid without tax being deducted.

5) Keys – have keys cut for the property, enough for each adult tenant plus a set for a lettings agency who should hold them in a secure way without the address on the label

6) Legal - The Landlord will be responsible for legal action against tenants plus any necessary costs incurred. Using a qualified solicitor is essential.

7) Inform Gas and Electricity suppliers of the date of transfer to the new tenants your professional letting agent should be able to do this for you

8) Water Rates and council tax are the Tenant's responsibility in most cases, but advise them of your new forwarding address. Beware there are charges for Council Tax if the property is left empty. Arrange the transfer for the actual day that your tenants will be moving in.

9) Money Don’t release the keys until you have all the rent and deposit. There is legislation requiring deposits to be registered if you do not there is a mandatory fine of three months rent.

10) Mail Redirection - the post office can redirect your mail. Arrange prior to vacating the property for the term of the tenancy.


HOUSEHOLDERS across Merseyside recycled over 29% of their waste last year, as new figures released this week show the latest efforts to tackle the region’s waste mountain.  The region has improved the amount of waste it recycles - up 7% from last year (from 22.5% to 29.3%), according to the annual review published by Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (MWDA).  Other findings show the region is sending less of its rubbish to landfill and that waste generated per person has fallen.

Carl Beer, Director of MWDA, said:- "Not long ago we were struggling to reach double figures in terms of the percentage of waste we recycle. This big year-on-year increase just shows the progress we’re making, and the real potential for much more to come.  The fact remains however that we are still creating too much waste, reusing or recycling too little and not getting enough value from what we’re throwing away.”

The 2007/08 review shows:-

• 29.3% of the total waste Merseyside householders produce is recycled or composted

• The region currently sends around 530,000 tonnes of waste to landfill – 12% less than last year (600,000 tonnes)

• Around 550 kg of household waste per head of population is generated each year (down 2% from last year)

• All 14 Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) on Merseyside recycle over 40% of material that they receive

• MWDA has led a range of educational site visits for nearly 1,000 school children and over 300 members of community groups during the year.

MWDA spearheads a number of recycling initiatives across the region, including ‘Swap Days’ (where residents bring and exchange unwanted items for free), educational workshops and compost giveaways.  It is also in the midst of a £3.3 billion exercise to procure new facilities capable of meeting the waste disposal needs of Merseyside homes for the next 25 years.

Councillor Kevin Cluskey, Chairperson of the Waste Disposal Authority said:- "This level of improvement wouldn’t be possible without enthusiastic support from the public - Merseyside householders have shown a real commitment to cutting back on waste.”

MWDA aims to increase recycling performance levels to above 40% by 2020, but its current level still lags behind the national average for recycling (33.9%).

Milk may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage

MILK may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), according to a recent study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.   Dr Judith Bryans, Director of The Dairy Council and Registered Nutritionist, said:- “This study supports the growing volume of literature which suggests that milk is a powerful post exercise recovery aid. Previous research has shown milk to be an effective rehydration solution, while this is the first study to suggest that drinking milk following muscle-damaging exercise may decrease muscle damage.”

The study carried out in male volunteers investigated the effects of consuming semi-skimmed milk, a milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement (milk-based CHO-P), water or a sports drink, on EIMD and muscle performance after exercise designed to induce muscle damage.  EIMD is the result of the breakdown of protein structures within the muscle, and reduces muscle performance. The researchers hypothesised that milk may limit the effects of EIMD, by providing protein and carbohydrate, which may help increase protein production and reduce protein breakdown within the muscles.  The results found that, when consumed immediately after resistance-based muscle damaging exercise, both semi-skimmed milk and milk-based CHO-P helped to preserve more muscle than either the sports drink or water.  For further information relating to dairy research or nutrition advice relating to dairy, please visit, or contact The Dairy Council by email or on 020 7395 4030.

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