Landlords Must Buckle Up for Property MOTs
2nd December 2019
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The campaigning ahead of the December 12 general election has seen a wave of proposals being suggested for the property industry, including property MOTs. We take a look at what this could mean for landlords… 

The Lettings Industry Council, the Association of Residential Letting Agents and other industry bodies have started preparing plans for an MOT-style assessment system for rental properties. The aim is to combine the large number of existing property licensing processes into one system, while improving standards in the private rented sector.

The scheme could work in much the same way as the annual MOT test run by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Rather than having your valuable investment property being inspected by an engineer with a torch and spanner, landlords would simply need to upload documents such as Gas Safety Certificates to an online portal once a year.

The MOT would document all areas of a property’s condition, including energy efficiency and minimum health and safety standards.

The concept aims to reduce the paperwork for landlords and regulators, by creating a consistent national scheme which takes around 10 minutes a year to complete. Currently, there an estimated 500 expensive discretionary licensing schemes being enforced by local authorities across the country.

This inconsistent approach is also putting a strain on the resources of hard pressed councils, many of which are unable to send officers to inspect properties to ensure they are up to the required standard.

The responsibility for completing the MOT would sit with the landlord and letting agents, with any missing documents being flagged up so the local authority can simply target the properties with potential compliance issues.

The idea of an MOT for property is not new, in fact it is also being proposed north of the border in Scotland to address the crisis of crumbling tenement buildings.

An investigation by the Edinburgh Evening News recently revealed a five-fold rise in reports of falling masonry in the city in 10 years — with one in three posing a risk to the public. There have been nearly 180 reports of falling masonry in Edinburgh in the past year.

One of the possible solutions suggested is an annual safety test for buildings and then charging owners and developers for repair costs. A taskforce came up with three recommendations:

  • Building inspections every five years
  • Compulsory owners’ associations to take responsibility 
  • Reserve funds to pay for work.

Communal Edinburgh tenements have been the subject of statutory roof repairs notices, while absentee landlords have been pursued for not paying their way and reneging on their obligations regarding building maintenance.

The efforts on both sides of the border will hopefully make life easier for reputable landlords, while helping the authorities to identify those who are breaching legislation.

If you have any questions regarding the private rented sector, please contact Knight Property Management for a free, no obligation chat. Call us today on 01992 308181.

About the Author

Jan and David

Member since: 22nd April 2012

Award-winning letting agents and chartered surveyors regulated by RICS and ARLA.

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