Oxford City Council & ATLAS

(OCC-LAS) Code of Management for Landlords


Oxford City Council & ATLAS Code of Management for Landlords

I declare that I am a landlord. I declare as a landlord that I will conform to this code being the Oxford City Council Landlord Accreditation Scheme and Accreditation and Training for Landlord and Agents Service’s code of conduct.  (OCC-LAS & ATLAS)

Business Conduct

  • I will adhere to the principles set out in the Private Rented Sector Code of Practice.
  • I will not discriminate in my dealings with prospective or existing tenants or treat them less favourably than others because of their colour, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, sex, marital status, sexuality, politics, or their responsibility for dependents. I acknowledge this includes indirect discrimination such as ‘no DSS’ or related practices, namely refusing to let prospective tenants on housing benefit or universal credit view affordable properties and requiring guarantors in cases where a prospective tenant’s income is sufficient.
  • I will not demand money on an unreasonable basis.
  • I will behave in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner towards all parties, including tenants and Council staff.
  • I will adopt the correct procedures for tenancy terminations.
  • I will not cause harassment to any tenant, instruct, or undertake any action that involves the tenant being illegally evicted or harassed.
  • I will ensure adequate insurance cover in place for property and landlords furnishings.
  • I will give adequate notice of entry in writing before inspecting a property, except in the case of an emergency, when access is required by myself, a contractor or agent.
  • I will acknowledge promptly all written communication received from the tenant and will respond appropriately to telephone or other messages.
  • I will provide contact details to immediate neighbours and agree to respond to complaints regarding neighbour nuisance or the anti-social behaviour of their tenants.
  • I will not refuse a tenant a reference for the purposes of securing a new tenancy, without good cause.
  • I will inform my tenants in writing that I am a member of the scheme and provide them with the schemes contact details.
  • I will take steps to maintain and improve my knowledge of current relevant legislation and good practice via CPD (continuous professional development).
  • I will keep my personal information, which has been provided to the scheme, up to date.
  • I will not act in such a manner that brings the scheme into disrepute.

    Advertising

  • I will accurately report property details and allow prospective tenants to view the property having due regard to the rights of existing tenants.
  • I will ensure that advertising boards should be displayed for the no more than the duration it takes to let the property and taken down as soon as possible after a property is let.

    Deposits

  • If a deposit is taken, I will protect the tenants’ deposit and comply with legislation and requirements of the deposit scheme and will be in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
  • I will provide a receipt for deposit paid.
  • I will provide the tenant with detailed information about what steps they need to take to avoid any part of their deposit being retained at the end of a tenancy and offer to inspect the property at the tenant’s request.
  • I will give a written explanation to the tenants if any portion of the deposit is retained.

    Receipts

  • I will provide a receipt for all the rent payments upon request if rent is payable other than weekly.I will prove written receipts for all cash transactions. I will, if requested, provide the tenant with a written statement of their rental account.

    Fees

  • I will clearly inform prospective tenants of any fees that may be charged for arranging a letting agreement. I will ensure any fees are in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

    Pre- tenancy check including references

  • I will always seek a reference from prospective tenants.
  • I will ensure that at the commencement of the tenancy a pre-tenancy check has been completed and that all obligations on the part of the owner in regard to repairs and property maintenance or improvements have been fully discharged or will be discharged by a date agreed with the tenants.Any pre-tenancy repairs or intentions on the part of the landlord to undertake improvements should be confirmed in writing.

    Inventories

  • I will supply an inventory, indicating the condition of the items where necessary.The inventory must be signed by the landlord and countersigned by the tenant once both parties have had an opportunity to check its correctness.
  • Where a managing agent is employed, I will, at the commencement of the letting, personally sign the inventory to confirm his acceptance of the agent’s description of the items listed in the inventory or delegate to the agent in writing responsibility for compiling the inventory and for deciding at the termination of the letting whether all or part of the deposit shall be returned to the tenant.

Tenants Agreements

  • I agree to provide the tenants with a suitable written tenancy agreement in plain English, in a minimum font size of 12 points (or rent book if weekly tenancy), stating the name, phone number and current registered address of the owner and agent if applicable.I agree the contract should contain no clauses that conflict with the tenants’ legal rights or with the terms of this code of practice.Prospective tenants should be given a full copy of the tenancy agreement.Where requested tenants should be permitted at least 48 hours within which to seek advice regarding those contractual terms.
  • I will clearly detail what rates, taxes, services, or other charges that are included in the rent and those which are not included.The landlord’s responsibilities for maintaining these services will be detailed.
  • I will provide clear written instructions for the payment of rent.
  • I will include clauses regarding nuisance and anti-social behaviour and the penalties if tenants behave in an anti-social manner.

Breach of Tenancy and Possession Proceedings

  • If I identify a breach of tenancy then before commencing proceedings, I will contact Oxford City Council’s landlord mediation service in Housing needs to try to maintain the tenancy.
  • Before commencing proceedings, I will notify the tenant in writing of any breach of tenancy agreement that it is to be used as a basis for legal proceedings against the tenant. I will clearly state the grounds for termination of the tenancy and the possession procedure which will ensue if the terms of the tenancy are not complied with.
  • I will use the correct legal notice proceedings at all times to lawfully end the tenancy.
  • Where it is agreed that there is sound evidence of persistent breach of tenancy conditions the owner/agent will serve a notice to terminate the tenancy.The enforcement of this notice will depend upon the subsequent behaviour of the tenant in response to the notice.

Disputes

  • Where disputes arise between myself and a tenant, I will give a written response to correspondence from tenants or their agent within 3 weeks, ensure that all settlements and agreements reached are honoured within three weeks of such a settlement being agreed and maintain courteous professional relations with tenants during any dispute.

Reports of Antisocial behaviour / nuisance

  • Where reports of nuisance or anti-social behaviour are made then I agree within one week to:
    • Visit/contact the tenant to discuss the nature of the complaint.
    • Write to the tenant following initial contact detailing what was discussed and agreed.
    • During this initial contact, the landlord will respect the anonymity of the complaint if this is requested.
    • Co-operate fully with the appropriate agencies if the complaint is not resolved in the first week and take action within agreed time timescales.
  • If the problem(s) persist, I will contact Oxford City Council’s landlord mediation service in Housing needs to try to maintain the tenancy.

Housing Benefits and Universal Credit

  • If I assist tenants to complete application forms, I will sign the appropriate part to indicate they had help completing the form.
  • If Housing Benefit is paid directly to me and there is an overpayment, I will repay this to the Housing Benefits Section once I am notified of the amount due, subject to the right of appeal.
  • Where Housing Benefits are paid, I will provide a quarterly statement to inform tenants of their outstanding contribution.
  • I will advise tenants to keep the Housing Benefits Section up to date with any changes in their circumstances. I will inform the Housing Benefits Section when I personally become aware of changes.
  • I will promptly advise Housing Benefits section when a tenant vacates their property.

    Property Conditions and certification

  • I will aspire to higher standards of accommodation, above the set minimum requirements. You are to ensure that your properties provide protection from the environment & are capable of being occupied safely and healthily by a range of households with a spectrum of lifestyles, while meeting the needs of a wide range of households whose members may include the elderly or the very young.
  • I will take reasonable steps to ensure all accommodation I provide will not contain any Category One hazards or significant or multiple Category Two hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and is in a satisfactory state of repair, has adequate amenities and meets good standards of management. I will provide an improvement plan if the property does not meet current standards, setting out how and within what period improvements will take place. Any local authority having reason to inspect a property, whilst fulfilling their statutory functions, may request this plan.
  • I will take responsibility for the provision, state, and proper working order of the installations within the dwelling, including the supply and use of water, gas and electricity personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage, food safety, ventilation, space & water heating. Landlords are also responsible for both the internal & external structural elements of the dwelling.
  • I will, subject to statutes, hold all relevant safety and inspection certificates / reports and carry out regular servicing of fitting, fixtures and appliances as required in accordance with good practice. Where necessary, I will provide copies to tenants.

    Information, repairs & emergency arrangements

  • I will ensure there are arrangements in place to report and deal with general repairs.I will give tenants details of how to turn off the water supply, gas and electricity services and a telephone number to report repairs.
  • I will, when disrepair or defects are brought to my attention by the tenant (or any other party) take action to attend to them promptly.
  • I will provide details of the relevant utility companies and ensure that the tenant knows how to get services transferred or reconnected when necessary.
  • I will provide details of an emergency contact (if different from details contained in the tenancy agreement).
  • I will have arrangement in place for emergency problems with drains, electricity, gas, and dangerous occurrences. A system to record all repairs must be in place as evidence of good practice. The landlord shall ensure that this procedure works in practice.
  • I agree to the following target response times.

    Emergency Repairs

    Any repairs required avoiding danger to health, risking to the safety of residents or serious damage to buildings or residents’ belongings e.g., burst pipes, leaking roofs, heating failure.  Make safe or complete within 24 hours of defect being reported.

    Reactive repairs not falling within the above categories. Completed within 28 days of reporting the defect.

    Energy Efficiency

  • Priority 2 (Urgent Repairs)
  • Repairs to defects which materially affect the comfort or convenience of residents must be completed within 10 working days of report of the defect.
  • Priority 3 (Non-urgent Repairs)
  • I will ensure all my properties have an EPC rating of D or higher, unless exempt under the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012. An EPC rating of D or higher is considered achievable for most properties. An EPC rating of E, or lower, suggests that adequate works to mitigate Excess Cold have not been undertaken. Evidence of exemption must be supplied as part of the application. Landlords with properties rated E-G will need to evidence that energy improvement works to their managed properties have been carried out to achieve a D rating. The preferred method to demonstrate this will be to provide an updated EPC certificate for the property.  
  • Planning and Building Regulations

  • I will ensure that approval is granted prior to works being carried out to extensions, adaptations and other alterations that are subject to Planning and Building Control consent.
  • Compliance with Property Licensing requirements and Statutory Notices

  • I will ensure all my properties hold the necessary property licence or registrations required by law. I will ensure the licence holder has complied with all Property licence conditions for their properties. Where licence conditions are issued for improvement works, I will ensure they are completed within the timeframes indicated on the licence. I will ensure that any property licence is renewed and supply all information in a timely manner and should not have to be reminded.
  • I will comply with, subject to appeal rights, all statutory notices served by a local authority.

Azad Ayub
uNIVERSITY OF LONDON HOUSING SERVICES
CHG
Surrey Property Licensing
London Property Licensing

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