Coventry Landlord Newsletter - February 2021

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Coventry Landlord

February 2021

In this issue:


Welcome to the first edition of the 2021 Coventry City Council Landlord newsletter.

Landmark court ruling for a Shelter client declares housing benefit discrimination unlawful

Housing Benefit discrimination has been confirmed as unlawful in a landmark court ruling at York County Court involving a Shelter client.

District judge Victoria Elizabeth Mark confirmed that rejecting tenancy applications because the applicant is in receipt of housing benefit is unlawfully indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex and disability, and contrary to sections 19 and 29 of The Equality Act 2010. Under the Act, it is unlawful to indirectly discriminate based on things like gender, disability or race. ‘No DSS’, ‘no benefits’ or ‘no Universal Credit’ policies breach the act via indirect discrimination, as they disproportionately harm women and disabled people, who are more likely to receive housing benefit.

For two years, Shelter have been fighting to end DSS discrimination and have actively been involved in several other ‘no DSS’ cases. However, this is the first time a court has ruled ‘no DSS’ to be unlawful; other cases resulted in letting agents agreeing to change their practises and offering apologies and compensation to Shelter clients. Shelter have been pleased with the widespread changes adopted by letting agents in each of their cases. However, this is the first time that a judge has made a formal ruling and declared it unlawful to discriminate against someone because they receive housing benefit.

It is hoped that this landmark ruling will make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of private renters across the UK who receive housing benefit and have been facing discrimination when looking for a home.

Over the recent months we have seen how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to financial hardship for a large proportion of the UK population. This has resulted in people losing work and requiring support including housing benefit to help them pay their rent. Shelter hope that this ruling will make a huge difference to the lives of many private renters who are relying on housing benefit to manage their rent since the coronavirus pandemic. More recently Shelter has had a second successful DSS court case.

Find out more about the landmark ruling.

Shelter’s Landlord for Good Project

Shelter are currently running a landlord for good project which aims to work together with landlords that want to help address the problems in the housing system. Their objective is to amplify the voice of good landlords and to build a network of landlords who will join them in their campaign to make sure that in the future tenants will not have to turn to Shelter for help. 

Shelter hope that through the landlord for good project that people can gain an insight into the perspective of being a landlord. They hope that this project can breakdown the prejudice and discrimination against people claiming benefits. Most people on benefits are working and they just need a safe place to call home so they can get on with their lives. 

ShelterLandlord for Good Project is currently not taking on anymore landlords at present but this may change in the future.  

Find out more about ShelterLandlord for Good Project.

Green Homes Grant

The Green Homes Grant is a unique opportunity for landlords to get government help with the cost of energy efficiency works to their property. While landlords will have to pay for some of the work, the upgrades will still be required when the grants are no longer available. By utilising the Green Homes Grant landlords may be able to reach the minimum standard at relatively low cost. 

Currently landlords can only let out a property if it has an EPC with a rating of E or higher. If the property does not meet these standards, then landlords are required to spend up to £3500 on improving their property to meet this standard. Most properties in the privately rented sector already meet this standard. 

The NRLA has produced guidance to help landlords navigate the system, which includes eligibility and what work the grant covers and any relevant updates from the Green Homes Grant.

Find out more about the Green Homes Grant.

Council Tax

The amount of council tax a landlord pays is dependent on which band your property falls in and the number of tenants who are in that property. For example, if you have a sole tenant who is liable to pay their own Council Tax bill, they will be entitled to a single person discount. However, there are cases when the owner, not the resident will be liable. These cases include Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) tenanted by full time studentsTo qualify as a full-time student, the person must study for at least 21 hours per week for 24 weeks of the year. 

Find out if you can get a discount or exemption.

The Council Tax Department has asked that landlords inform them as soon as possible when tenants change. Informing them at the earliest convenience enables them to reduce the amount of letters/emails sent to you and allows them to issue more accurate council tax bills. 

Requirement for letting agents to be a member of Client Money Protection and Complaint Redress Schemes

Letting agents are required to be members of both a client money protection scheme and complaint redress scheme. Any agencies found not to be a member of one of these schemes could have their HMO licence revoked or licence application refused.  

Client Money Protection Scheme 

From 1 April 2019, a letting agent must obtain a certificate confirming membership of an approved Client Money Protection scheme. This certificate should be displayed prominently in offices where you deal with the public (if applicable) and on any website.

Complaint Redress Scheme 

From 1 October 2014, letting agents engaging in letting agency or property management work relating to private accommodation must be a member of a redress scheme for dealing with complaints in connection with that work. Agencies may be fined up to £5000 and have any licences revoked if they are not a member of a redress scheme. 

Such businesses must display: 

  • A statement that they are a member of a redress scheme. 
  • The name of the redress scheme. 

Read more information about the Complaint Redress Scheme.

Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act bans most letting fees and caps tenancy deposits paid by tenants in the private rented sector in England. The ban on tenant fees applies to new or renewed tenancy agreements signed on or after 1 June 2019. 

This Act aims to reduce the cost that tenants can face at the outset, and throughout, a tenancy. Through this act, tenants will be able to see at a glance, what a given property will cost them in the advertised rent with no hidden costs.  

From 1st June 2019, the only payments that landlords or letting agents can charge to tenants in relation to new contracts are: 

  • rent
  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
  • payments capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher) for the variation, assignment or replacement of a tenancy
  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax 
  • a default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement. 

Read more information about the Tenant Fees Act.

Landlord Forum - 23 February 2021

We will be holding our next Landlord Forum on 23 February 2021 at 6pm. We will be holding talks from Steven Chantler, Principal Environmental Health Officer, who will talk about the current eviction procedures during the current pandemic and also talk about the types of properties that may need to be licensed under the additional licensing scheme. We will also be holding talks from Martin Donovan from the Housing Options Team and he will advise on the help available to landlords and tenants during the current pandemic. Mathew Lyness from the Fire Service will also run a presentation about fire safety.

If you are interested in joining the webinar, a link to register will be sent separately. We are looking to host around 150 people on a first come first served basis.

Don't worry if you can't log onto the webinar as we will be recording the session so it can be watched at a later date.

Contact us

We want to work with you to improve housing in the city. If you want to get in touch with any questions please, contact the team:


Telephone: 024 7697 5467