Written by Wesley Muchimwe | 1st July 2020

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Michael Graham Landlord Update - July 2020

We hope that you are all safe and well. Since our letter back in March 2020 we are now pleased to inform you that all our Lettings department staff have returned to work and we have added safety steps into our processes so we can work safely within government guidance.

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We have slightly restructured our team to provide you with one point of contact for maintenance and property inspections. This has been split into two depending on the area the property is in (please see details below).

Caroline Hughes - Manager & Client Account Manager.  
Email: caroline.hughes@michaelgraham.co.uk

Angela Keegan – Lettings coordinator, overseeing the day to day management of properties and dealing with tenancy renewals.  
Email: angela.keegan@michaelgraham.co.uk

Kirstie King – New tenancy set up administrator 
Email: kirstie.king@michaelgraham.co.uk

Jane Grant – Property maintenance, inspections and end of tenancy check outs for the Newport Pagnell, Olney, Bedford, Hitchin & Woburn Sands areas. 
Email: jane.grant@michaelgraham.co.uk

Kelly Hamilton - Property maintenance, inspections and end of tenancy check outs for the Northampton, Towcester, Buckingham, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury & Princes Risborough areas. .  
Email: kelly.hamilton@michaelgraham.co.uk

Please continue to use the Newport Pagnell office number on 01908 218850.

Marketing Properties and Valuations

I am pleased to report that since the middle of May the Government has allowed us to resume valuations and viewings on properties. We immediately noticed an increase in demand for rental properties as restrictions were lifted. This demand has now steadied and is as buoyant as I would expect it to be for this time of year.

Maintenance

We have introduced a new repairs and maintenance reporting system enabling Tenants to report repairs via an online reporting portal in over 40 languages, anytime, anywhere. The portal also requires Tenants to provide all the essential information we would need to obtain accurate quotes and carry out effective first-time repairs including media files for better diagnoses. Should the issue fall under the remit of the Tenant, for example, a report of mildew in the bathroom, the portal advises the occupier that it is their responsibility and provides guidance on how to resolve the issue safely.

Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR)

The Government has brought in new legislation with effect from 1 July 2020 whereby private landlords must ensure that Electrical safety standards are met when a property is occupied during a tenancy by obtaining an EICR.  Every fixed electrical installation at the property now has to be inspected and tested at least every five years by a qualified electrician.  The first inspection and testing must now be carried out before new tenancies commence on or after 1 July 2020 and by 1 April 2021 for existing tenancies. If you do not have a current EICR then we will contact you to arrange for this and any remedial work to the fixed electrical wiring which may be required to bring properties up to standard.

Property Inspections

We can now resume our routine property inspections. Jane & Kelly have been working hard over the past couple of weeks re-scheduling all the inspections that we were unable to do during lockdown and they will be out and about from 1 July carrying out property inspections and reporting back to you. Please note that some Tenants are still shielding and may not want us to visit the property. In these incidences we will ask the Tenant to provide us with a tour of the house either by video or with detailed photographs. 

Renewals

Angela may well have been in touch with you during the lock down period to discuss fixed term tenancies that were due to expire.  Many of you agreed to allow your Tenants to remain at the property on a periodic basis where the tenancies now continue on a month to month basis. Please note with a periodic tenancy your Tenant has to give one month’s notice if they wish to vacate and Landlords currently have to give 3 months’ notice if they require vacant possession. If you now wish to renew these periodic tenancies and agree on a more permanent fixed term please discuss this with Angela.

Possession Notices & Evictions

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, from 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020 landlords will have to give all renters three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession of the property. When using either Section 8 or Section 21 notice, landlords must give at least three months’ notice before they can apply to the court for possession. The legislation covering notice periods is in force until 30 September 2020 and is subject to review and may be extended further. As well as the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 the Government announced on 5 June 2020 that the suspension of evictions has been extended in England and Wales for a further two months meaning that landlords will continue to be unable to start proceedings to evict tenants.

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