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Orkneys Forum for Private Sector Landlords

By Gladys Martin,2014-08-17 15:20
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Orkneys Forum for Private Sector Landlords

    Orkney’s Forum for Private Sector Landlords

    Wednesday, 19 March 2008

    Orkney Hotel, Kirkwall

Chair: Barbara Leask, Housing Officer (Advice & Information)

    Advice & Information Section, Orkney Islands Council, Kirkwall

    Tel: 01856 87 35 35 (Ext 2175)

    E-mail: housingadvice@orkney.gov.uk

Speakers: Elizabeth Wright

     Ingrid Austin

    Northern & Western Isles Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, Bridge

    St., Kirkwall. Tel: 01856 87 05 34 / 0800 512 012

    E-mail: elizabeth@energyadvice.plus.com

    John Richards

    Keep Orkney Warm, Victoria St., Kirkwall

    Tel: 01856 87 05 36

    E-mail: enquiries@kow.org.uk

Minutes: Denise Brown, Assistant Housing Officer (Advice & Information)

    Advice & Information Section, Orkney Islands Council, Kirkwall

    Tel: 01856 87 35 35 (Ext 2189)

    E-mail: housingadvice@orkney.gov.uk

Introductions & Update

    Barbara welcomed everyone to the forum (landlord attendance 27 in total).

    Repairing Standard came into force as of 3 September 2007. Information packs were sent out to landlords at the time but if anyone needs a copy of this they should contact the Advice & Information Section.

    Local Housing Allowance comes into force as of 7 April 2008, but will apply to new applicants only. Therefore existing tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit will not be affected.

    Further information available by contacting the Housing Benefit Section or the Advice & Information Section.

    National Accreditation Scheme this is to be introduced at the end of April and more information will be passed on to local landlords when we have it. This is a voluntary scheme where landlords can chose to become involved in going for accreditation.

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Northern & Western Isles Energy Efficiency Advice Centre

    Speakers: Elizabeth Wright & Ingrid Austin

    Elizabeth Wright opened with an introduction to the NWIEEAC and highlighted the three main services they provide:-

    Energy Efficiency Advice Centre dealing with promotions and providing information on grants and loans, insulation and draught proofing, heating systems and fuel bills and tariffs. They can carry out home visits and advise on using energy sources more efficiently by way of considering improvements to insulation and fuel tariffs.

    Energy Strategy Co-ordinator Assists local authorities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles in formulating their energy efficiency strategies.

    Scottish Community and Householder Renewable Initiative more focused on renewable

    energy, and providing basic technical information on accessing grant funding for its implementation. SCHRI offer grants to owner-occupiers (therefore not applicable to those properties you let out). Grants of 30% (up to ?4,000) are available. For further information please contact the SCHRI on 0800 138 8858 or www.est.org.uk/schri

Property Challenges

    Heat Loss from a dwelling: 35% from walls; 25% from roof; 15% from doors; 15% from floors; and 10% from windows. Therefore the most cost effective measures for reducing heat loss are installing loft and cavity wall insulation, and draught proofing windows and doors.

    The most common letting and renting problems include cold, damp, condensation & mould. Where these issues cannot be addressed with improvement of property e.g. adequate heating provision, ventilation etc, then you may wish to recommend your tenants seek advice from the NWIEEAC on ways to reduce these problems.

    There may be a problem too with the cost of heating which can have a knock-on effect to your tenants’ budgeting and cause problems with making rental payments.

    Other related problems can include repairs and maintenance and decoration and damage.

Available Solutions

    Loft insulation minimum thickness required 270 mm / 10.5” – benefit of a fully insulated

    loft is that it could save ?200 a year on heating costs.

    Cavity wall insulation 260 mm / 10.5” thick – benefits include a saving of ?130-?160 a

    year on heating, and it helps to create an even temperature in the property, thereby reducing “cold spots” prone to dampness or condensation.

    Controlled ventilation by ensuring vents are provided and accessible, you can minimise damage by controlling moisture levels benefits include a comfortable home without cold

    spots and draughts, the protection of building materials from moisture damage, and improved comfort, health and safety for inhabitants.

    Energy efficiency lighting these work by focusing energy consumption on creating light not heat, and the quality of light has improved since earlier designs these use up to 80%

    less electricity than standard bulbs.

Benefits for Landlords

    ; Reduced running costs for the property mean rent more affordable for tenants.

    ; Increased desirability of property.

    ; Enhanced reputation as a landlord.

    ; Stable and increased property values.

    ; Satisfied occupants fewer complaints and repairs; fewer and reduced void periods. Benefits for Tenants

    ; Affordable heating.

    ; Fewer cold-related health problems.

    ; More comfortable homes.

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Financial Assistance Available

    Warm Deal - tenants can apply for this grant directly and arrange installations with landlord consent. For further information see below.

    Energy Suppliers Grants are available from individual fuel providers such as Hydro Electric, Scottish Power etc and you do not have to be a customer of that provider to be access these.

    LESA (Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance)

    This is a form of tax relief whereby you can deduct the cost of installing certain energy saving measures when calculating the taxable profit of your property business. This is available to all landlords who a) pay income tax, and b) let residential property. It is not available for holiday lets or residential landlords.

    Amount of savings would depend on the tax bracket you were in, but up to ?1500 can be claimed for each dwelling for each year. The work need not be carried out by a qualified

    person and can be DIY as long as you can provide receipts. It can also be utilised should your tenants qualify for assistance through the Warm Deal Grant, but when there is an excess not covered, then this may be off-set with the LESA. It may also be used to carry out any work required to improve Energy Performance Certificate rating (see below). A tax reduction can be made for acquiring and installing:-

    ; Cavity wall insulation

    ; Loft insulation

    ; Solid wall insulation

    ; Hot water system insulation

    ; Floor insulation

    ; Draught proofing.

    How to claim the LESA

    Complete box 5.36C on your Self Assessment Tax Return.

    Guidance can be found in the notes for Land and Property.

    Further assistance can be found by contacting your tax office (contact telephone number on your tax form) and asking for a Technical Adviser.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

    This is a UK wide scheme of grant assistance for renewables, with future plans to include non-renewables . Landlords can access the programme through the Business Stream (there is also a Residential Stream), but properties must already have all practical energy efficiency measures in place first. Grant levels vary. For further information visit www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk or contact 0800 915 0990.

EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates)

    These are the result of the EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings and are required when a property is constructed, sold or rented out. The EPC is similar to those already displayed on white goods and rate properties on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions. They also include notes for improvements. For rented properties the scheduled date is January 2009 after which certificates will be required on all new tenancies. Therefore there will not be a requirement to provide certificates to existing tenants. The EPC is then valid for 10 years. The Scottish Building Standards Agency will be organising the implementation and qualified assessors will be carrying out the grading.

Thermal Imaging Camera

    NWIEEAC finished their presentation with a demonstration of their thermal imaging camera. This is a valuable diagnostic tool and detects heat loss often invisible to the naked eye, showing heat loss outside and within buildings such as around pipes, draughts etc highlighting problem areas. Contact the NWIEEAC on 87 05 34 or 0800 512 012 for further information about this service.

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Questions / comments for the speaker

Q: Can the LESA be applied for every year?

    A: Yes you can make a claim up to the maximum amount for every year of ownership

    of the property.

Q: Can you help fund fitting double-glazing under the LESA?

    A: No there is a specific list of insulation measures the LESA covers. If you are

    unsure, contact the Technical Adviser through your local Tax Office.

    Q: Are there any guidelines available on vaguer terms such as draught-proofing, as it is

    such a new scheme?

    A: The scheme was introduced in 2004, but NWIEEAC do not have guidelines, but

    again, contacting the Technical Adviser should help substantiate what falls under the

    criteria.

Comment from the floor: Regarding fitting double glazing can now get full tax relief on

    double-glazing. Advise speaking to your accountant on this.

Keep Orkney Warm

    Speaker: John Richards

    John started his presentation with an introduction to Keep Orkney Warm. They are based in the Orkney Islands Property Developments Ltd.’s offices at Victoria Street, Kirkwall but

    they are not part of OIPDL, rather they are set up through the Council. Originally set up through the Education Dept. as a training programme, Keep Orkney Warm are now operated through the Housing Division as closer links with housing issues. KOW’s administrator, Glenda Munro, was also present at the forum.

    KOW’s installers can assess and install loft insulation, cavity wall installation, underfloor insulation and draught-proofing. They can also issue SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) Certificates on existing properties and NHER SAP Certificates in new build properties based on plans.

Grants

    Central Heating Programme

    This is a Scottish Government grant for pensioners with heating in less than two rooms, where they have lived in the property for at least one year and intend to remain for at least another year. Therefore, it may be that your tenant is eligible to apply although would require landlord permission.

    Warm Deal Grant

    This is for tenants over 60 years old or who are on benefits. The grant amount is up to ?500 and goes towards certain insulation works.

    Scottish Hydro Electric Grant

    This is non-means tested and ranges from ?20 - ?300 and covers insulation meaures. For further information on all these grants, please contact Keep Orkney Warm.

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Insulation measures available

    Assessments and quotes are available by KOW free of charge.

    Cavity wall insulation

    ; 35% of heat loss is through the walls.

    ; KOW are the only people in Orkney authorised to install cavity wall insulation.

    ; Because of the type of fill used, it is not available in timber frame construction.

    ; Approximately 2500 installations completed so far.

    Loft insulation

    ; 25% of heat loss is through the roof.

    ; Originally 100mm depth required, but currently 250-300 mm depending on the grant

    source.

    ; Approximately 3000 dwellings completed so far.

    Underfloor insulation

    ; 15% of heat loss is through the floor.

    ; At least 18” of crawl space is required for the work to be carried out.

    ; Approximately 1000 properties completed so far.

    John finished his presentation by explaining that Keep Orkney Warn are looking to move towards closer working with the Northern & Western Isles Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, and to aim towards providing a “single door access” to these organisations.

Questions / comments for the speaker

Q: Would you consider looking at any rented property, regardless of the tenant’s

    circumstances?

    A: Yes this includes properties in the Isles. We can visit to provide assessment of

    work and quote of costs, free of charge.

    Q: I was provided with a quote from Keep Orkney Warm recently, but feel I was mis-

    quoted on the area measurements.

    A: You can challenge any quote provided by Keep Orkney Warm and we will be happy

    to re-visit the property. Our staff have to be fully trained and are qualified ot work

    with the materials and we are regulated by SIGA.

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend and thank you to our guest speakers.

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