May 2021 - newsletter

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Coventry Landlord

May 2021

In this issue:


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

Introducing our Landlord and Tenant Liaison Officer

March 2021 has seen the appointment of a dedicated Landlord and Tenant Liaison Officer. The wider housing department has appointed James Stringer to what is a brand-new role. James will be responsible for investigating allegations of illegal evictions and harassment, gathering evidence and where necessary prosecuting offenders. James will also be assisting in the Coventry Landlord Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) to help train landlords in best practice of setting up and ending tenancies to help keep allegations down to a minimum and reduce homelessness. It is hoped that, in the coming weeks and months, James can signpost both tenants and landlords to other useful third parties as well as acting as a liaison if tenancy relations are failing.

James joins our team with 16 years local government experience across a range of enforcement tasks and departments as well as having spent time in private sector enforcement.

Cancelling (revoking) your licence

Within Coventry, all privately rented properties occupied as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) require a licence. Under section 70 of the Housing Act 2004, a licence can be revoked either on agreement or on the Council’s own initiative.

When revoking a licence on the Council’s initiative this can be actioned for the following reasons:

  • Where the authority considers that the licence holder or any other person involved in management of the property has committed a serious breach of a condition of the licence or repeated breaches of such a condition;
  • Where the authority considers that the licence holder or a manager is not a fit and proper person;
  • Where the authority consider that the HMO is not suitable for the number of households or persons specified in the licence.

When revoking a licence on agreement this can be actioned for the following reasons:

  • Where an HMO has been sold (HMO licences are not transferrable);
  • Where the licence holder has changed;
  • Where the property is no longer classed as an HMO.

For more details regarding revoking a licence, we have recently added a new section dedicated to this on our website. Please note that you can only apply to revoke a licence if a licence has already been issued. If your HMO licence application is still in progress then you can simply email and request that your HMO application be withdrawn. Please provide us with as much detail as possible for the reasons why you wish to withdraw the application.

Coronavirus Act 2020 update

A reminder that Section 21 Notices are still required to give a tenant six months to vacate, this has been extended until 31 May 2021 following amendments to Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021.

Read a press release from the Government.

Unlicensed HMO's and Rent Repayment Orders

Where a licensable HMO is found to be unlicensed there are several potential consequences such as prosecution, civil penalties and rent repayment orders. More information concerning unlicensed HMO’s can be found on our website. Under the legislation, where a property is found to be operating as an unlicensed HMO, applications for rent repayment orders can be submitted by tenants to the First Tier Property Tribunal to claim back any rent paid during the period a landlord was managing an unlicensed HMO.

Rent repayment orders maybe applied for in the following situations -

  • Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice under section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.
  • Failure to comply with a Prohibition Order under section 32 of the Hosing Act 2004.
  • Breach of a banning order made under section 21 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
  • Using violence to secure entry to a property under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
  • Illegal eviction or harassment of the occupiers of a property under section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
  • Failure to licence an HMO.

All recent residential property tribunal decisions including rent repayment orders in Coventry.

Risks of Legionnaires disease in properties

Due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions many properties may have been left vacant, particularly student accommodation. Therefore, it is timely to remind you of the Legionella risks in vacant properties when water is allowed to stagnate within hot and cold water systems. These circumstances, especially during warm weather can allow Legionella bacteria to grow to harmful levels that, when the property is re-occupied and water systems put back in use, could lead to someone contracting Legionnaires disease if you have not taken action to prevent this. More information and advice.

As a landlord you have legal obligations to maintain the water systems in your premises to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria.

As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and to minimise the chances of stagnation. To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods. Links to relevant and more detailed guidance.

New fees for HMO licensing

We have updated our fee for pre-licensing advice. If you would like to book an optional visit to determine whether a property is suitable to be licensed and advise on requirements for the property to be used as an HMO then we can provide this service for £206.00 plus VAT (£247.20).

We have recognised that there are landlords who would prefer to apply for an HMO licence via a Paper HMO Application Form. As such we have now added this as an option. You can request a Paper HMO Application form for a charge of £30.00. More details regarding this service and the pre-licensing advice can be found on our website.

How long are supporting certificates for HMO applications valid?

  • Gas Safety certificate (valid for 12 months).
  • Electrical Installation and Condition Report (valid for a period of up to five years unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). Please note that where an electrical safety report requires the landlord to undertake further investigative or remedial work (C1 or C2), the landlord must ensure that this work is carried out by a qualified person within 28 days or the period specified in the report if less than 28 days. A written confirmation for completion of the remedial work must be provided to each tenant and to the authority via email:
  • Fire Alarm Test certificate (valid for a period of up to 12 months unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). We do accept a self-certification form for Grade D fire alarm systems.
  • Emergency Lighting Test certificate – if two or less storeys – this is not compulsory. However, if emergency lighting is fitted, then the certificate must be provided (valid for a period of up to 12 months unless any shorter period was specified by the person who carried out the check). We do accept a self-certification form for emergency lighting.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – minimum energy rating must be E or above (valid for 10 years).
  • PAT certificate for any electrical equipment supplied to the tenants that is more than one year old (valid for 12 months).

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