Code of Practice
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Business conduct
- 3 Standards of Accommodation
- 4 Management
- 5 Administration
- 6 Complaints Procedure
- 7 Disciplinary Procedure
- 1 INTRODUCTION
- The rules in this Code of Practice form an integral part of the conditions of membership of the Hull & District Landlords’ Assocation (HLA). All applicants for membership of the HLA will be sent a copy and in applying, each applicant agrees to be bound by them.
- The Code of Practice aims to achieve and promote the highest standards of conduct by members of the HLA.
The rules are also aimed at protecting the public against restrictive or unethical practices and provide a means of complaint against a member who fails to honour them. By incorporating these rules in the HLA, it is our intention to promote good standards of accommodation and service and to develop a useful and mutually respectful, co-operative relationship with tenants, the local community, local authorities, local and national governments representatives and other agencies.
- Members must have regard for the community in which their properties are situated and be prepared to liaise with community representatives regarding any issues affecting their tenants or properties.
- While the HLA will use its best endeavours to inform its members of current and future legislation, it must be understood that this cannot be all encompassing, and it will remain the responsibility of individual members to obtain independent legal advice and guidance on all matters.
“Members are not permitted to enter into any legal action against the HLA or members acting on its behalf, in accordance with accepted HLA Policy.”
- 2 BUSINESS CONDUCT
- All Members shall adhere to the principles expected of residential landlords and will at all times abide by the laws which are relevant to landlords and the Code of Practice of the HLA.
- References provided by a member must be honest and accurate.
- Members shall not use business methods involving dishonesty, deception or misrepresentation.
- A member shall disclose to the secretary of the HLA any conflict of interest that may arise while he/she is a member. A member will, at all times, respect the confidentiality of his/her fellow members.
- A member will not discriminate in his/her dealings with prospective and existing tenant due to their disability or on racial or sexual grounds.
- If housing benefit is paid directly to a member and there is a genuine recoverable overpayment, this must be repaid following a written request from the council.
- Members shall endeavour to use the services provided by the HLA.
- 3 STANDARDS OF ACCOMMODATION
3.1 Members shall comply with all relevant legal and statutory regulations.
- The accommodation shall be let clean and in a tidy condition, with all appliances working and an inventory shall be completed at the beginning of each tenancy.
- Particular attention shall be paid to gas, electrical, fire safety and furniture regulations.
- For houses in multiple occupation, particular attention shall be paid to the common parts, the means and disposal of rubbish and also the safety and security of the property against unauthorised access.
3.2 Members will make every reasonable endeavour to keep their properties free from significant hazards as described in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System introduced by the Housing Act 2004.
Members shall comply with all relevant legal and statutory requirements.
- The landlord shall use its best endeavours to ensure that the heating, hot water, gas and electrical appliances operate properly and that arrangements for refuse collection and disposal are adequate.
- The landlord or his agent shall periodically visit their properties to inspect the interior and exterior decoration and ensure that repairs and maintenance are being properly carried out.
- For houses in multiple occupation, particular attention shall be paid to the common parts being kept clean, safe and properly lit. The landlord or his/her agent shall visit the property on a frequent, regular basis.
- All tenants’ rights as set out in the tenancy agreement shall be respected.
- Tenants shall be given a telephone contact number or procedure to be followed in the event of an emergency occurring. The landlord shall ensure that this procedure shall give adequate notice of entry if he/she wishes to inspect a property.
- 5 ADMINISTRATION
The tenancy agreement shall:
- Specify precisely what rates, taxes, services or similar charges are included in the rent.
Include a receipt for deposit paid.
Include an inventory with, if appropriate, a space listed against each item to indicate the condition of that item.
- If the rent is payable weekly, the landlord will provide the tenant with a rent book. If the rent is payable other than weekly, a receipt shall be provided for all rent payments upon request.
- If a member employs a managing agent, then the member shall either, at the commencement of the letting, personally sign the inventory to confirm his/her acceptance of the agent’s description of the items listed in the inventory, or delegate to the agent in writing the 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.
- Members who hold deposits for the tenant shall deal with the refund of deposits in accordance with the rules of the HLA. In the event of the matter not being resolved satisfactorily, it may, at the tenant’s request, be settled by arbitration using the procedure detailed below. In the event of such dispute, advice may be sought from the HLA, which will be given without legal liability on behalf of the HLA or its officers.
- Any member who takes an application fee (or similar) which fee will usually cover the cost of carrying out credit checks, obtaining references, preparing the tenancy agreement and the inventory, must return the fee in full to any applicant who is unsuccessful in acquiring the property they have applied for. Only in the event of:
- The applicant withdrawing their application OR
(ii) The applicant providing incorrect, incomplete or misleading information on the application for OR
(iii)The member deciding that the risk arising from granting the applicant the
tenancy is too high, based o information obtained from credit checks and
references (including credit checks on any guarantor)
6 COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
- Before a complaint can be investigated by the association, the person making the complaint must show that they have made every effort to resolve the matter directly with the member concerned. The complainant should write to the member setting out clearly the grounds for complaint and allow the member 14 days to respond in writing.
- If the member does not respond, or the complainant is dissatisfied with the response, they should write to the member stating that if the matter is not resolved within a further 14 days they will contact the association to instigate the arbitration procedure.
- The procedure that follows will be instigated when a formal complaint is received by the secretary. A formal complaint must be in written form, signed by the person making the complaint and it must include a contact address for further correspondence.
- Having received a formal letter of complaint, the Chairman will appoint an officer of the association to attempt to arbitrate between the parties concerned. In the event that this is unsuccessful, the secretary will appoint three officers of the HLA to form a Complaints Hearing Committee (CHC)
and will notify the landlord and tenant of the date of the hearing of the complaint.
- The CHC will meet at an agreed time and venue within 28 days of the complaint being received. The secretary will attend his/her meeting to record minutes and take instructions on any agreed action.
- In the event of a dispute centering around the refund of a deposit, the landlord may be asked to pay the deposit into the HLA’s account pending the outcome of the hearing.
- At the hearing, either side may call witnesses or give written statements to be read out at the hearing.
- The CHC will decide by majority vote whether the complaint is upheld or not. For the complaint to be upheld, it must relate to an issue relating to the
code of practice of the HLA and be proven beyond reasonable doubt to have occurred as stated. The Chairman will notify each party of the hearing’s decision, either orally or in writing, as appropriate.
7 DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
Following a hearing of the CHC, the committee will consider whether to recommend disciplinary action against the member. If the committee decides to recommend such action, the Chairman of the Association will either:
- Issue a formal written warning stating that if a similar complaint regarding the member’s conduct is upheld at any future date, the member concerned will immediately be recommended for expulsion from the HLA.
- Or recommend to the membership that the member be expelled immediately from the HLA.
The constitution includes articles describing:
- The Objectives of the HLA.
- The responsibility and discipline of members.
- The appointment and duties of the Executive Committee.
- The payment of subscriptions and the recording of accounts.
- The procedure relating to meetings.