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Office Update

New Guidelines, New Practice

Following the Government’s advice and in order to minimize the risk to staff and the wider community, we will be moving to a restricted operation model as of 24th March 2020. This will initially run until 24th April 2020.

 

During this time the majority of staff will be required to work remotely. 

 

All the correspondence needs to be carried out via Email or our website unless it is emergency.

 

All the maintenance job will be postponed unless it is emergency. 

 

Our operating time will be from 10:00 – 16:30pm Monday to Friday during this period until further notice

 

 

Kind regards and stay safe

 

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Important Notes To ALL Tenants

Posted on 19.03.2020

Dear Tenants:

 

We are aware that many have already departed or currently planning to depart this week, for home destinations in the UK and around the world.

We are also aware that many of you are staying and following the government’s guidelines closely.

Times like these can bring out the best and worst in people. While some will be looking out for vulnerable relatives and friends we also know a small minority will be looking to profit from worry and concerns at this unprecedented time.

Therefore, we would appreciate if you can read the notices below and take actions if necessary

For those households who have departed or planning to depart, can you please let us know what period the property will be empty so we make sure we carry out regular checks on your property. 

There are 5 things you need to know:

 

  1. When you leave the property, please make sure you lock all the doors and windows, set the alarm on, leaving the landing lights on, and set the heating on for frost protection. This would prevent opportunist burglaries or any unnecessary damages.
  2. Our team will carry out regular checks on the property, to make sure everything is secure and sound, if there is anything of concern, we will let you know as soon as possible.
  3. If you have any concerns about your property while you are away, please feel free to contact us or report it on the website, we are happy to go around and check the property for you
  4. West Midlands Police Action Fraud has received multiple reports about fraud linked to Coronavirus. We are therefore asking you to share some crime prevention advice with loved ones to ensure they aren’t tricked by fraudsters taking advantage of people’s worries.

In recent weeks they’ve seen reports about coronavirus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

One tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email claiming to be able to provide a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

People have also made purchases and paid money from online sellers that have never arrived.

The number of these reports are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

Please share the below crime prevention advice with friends and family members so fraudsters cannot profit during this time.

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
  • Do not respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal/financial information
  • Install latest software and updates on devices
  • If you are looking at making purchases on sites you don’t know or trust then make sure you do research of the company first before making the purchase, ask family and friends for advice
  • If you do decide to make payment use a credit card as the majority of credit card providers insure purchases made online
  • Keep in contact with your loved ones, especially if elderly or more vulnerable and make sure they are safe and comfortable
  1. We are also aware of hate crime cases of a racially aggravated nature involving abuse connected to Coronavirus. We are also aware that there may be incidents that are not being reported to the Police.

If you feel you have been targeted please contact your local Police 

For those households who are staying on:

 

     There are 6 things you need to know:

  1. Please let us know who is staying in the house by emailing admin@masonknightproperties.com
  2. If you are feeling unwell, or have underlying health condition, or if you or anyone in your household has cough or fever you should stay in the house, follow the government self- quarantine rules and keep us informed by emailing admin@masonknightproperties.com, we will be checking on you every 7- 14 days to make sure you are ok. If anyone if the household is showing symptoms of Covid-19, please do let us know. Please note: all the maintenance visits will be suspended during the 14 day quarantine period.
  1. We have ordered some face masks and they will be arriving in 2 weeks time, we will be giving face masks out to our tenants for FREE if you feel that you are in need of one. Please email us on admin@masonknightproperties.com
  2. Only essential or emergency maintenance work will be carried out during this period, all the other non-essential work will be suspended until further notice.
  3. West Midlands Police Action Fraud has received multiple reports about fraud linked to Coronavirus. We are therefore asking you to share some crime prevention advice with loved ones to ensure they aren’t tricked by fraudsters taking advantage of people’s worries.

In recent weeks they’ve seen reports about corona virus-themed phishing emails attempting to trick people        into opening malicious attachments or revealing sensitive personal and financial information.

 One tactic used by fraudsters is to contact potential victims over email claiming to be able to provide a list of coronavirus infected people in their area. In order to access this information, the victim needs to click on a link, which leads to a malicious website, or is asked to make a payment in Bitcoin.

People have also made purchases and paid money from online sellers that have never arrived.

 The number of these reports are expected to rise as the virus continues to spread across the world.

 Please share the below crime prevention advice with friends and family members so fraudsters cannot profit during this time.

  • Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
  • Do not respond to unsolicited messages asking for personal/financial information
  • Install latest software and updates on devices
  • If you are looking at making purchases on sites you don’t know or trust then make sure you do research of the company first before making the purchase, ask family and friends for advice
  • If you do decide to make payment use a credit card as the majority of credit card providers insure purchases made online
  • Keep in contact with your loved ones, especially if elderly or more vulnerable and make sure they are safe and comfortable
  1. We are also aware of hate crime cases of a racially aggravated nature involving abuse connected to Coronavirus.

        We are also aware that there may be incidents that are not being reported to the Police.

       If you feel you have been targeted please contact Police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk

 

 

Finally we know that with an ever changing picture of the spread of Coronavirus you have concerns or questions        

  and will be looking for the latest information. We recommend that you visit the NHS website or Gov.uk for the  

  latest detailed advice and guidance on the response to Coronavirus.

 

Although our office is now closed to public, but we will still be operating and everyone in the team will try our best to make sure everyone can go through this very difficult period together.

 

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Business As Usual with New Measurements

Updated on 17.03.2020

What does the COVID-19 mean for maintenance and viewings for my property ?

The government body of letting agency and estate agency ARLA has issued guidelines for all companies involved in the property industry.  We will list the guidelines below for your information

  • Maintenance Visits – Essential and Emergency ONLY

Maintenance team will only attend if the maintenance issues are essential and urgent. We will provide prior notice to the tenants. Disposable gloves and face masks will be provided to maintenance team during the visit. All the contractors and workmen will be checked before they enter into property re: contact history, travel history, personal welfare, any flu-like symptoms. All the tenants need to inform us in advance the following: Whether you had any flu-like symptoms, whether you had any contact with anyone with symptoms.

 

For non-essential maintenance issues: it will either be re-scheduled, or the residents will be sent a quick-fix video guide. Unless other prior agreements have been reached. 

 

  • Valuation and Viewings

We will offer photos or video viewings if it is possible to do so.

If an accompanied viewings need to be carried out, we will make reasonable, regular checks before carrying out or hosting viewings. Questions will be involved:  if they have returned from an impacted area, have a high temperature or a recent dry cough or have had any contact with anyone with symptoms. We will also ask applicants or potential tenants/ buyers the same questions as well. 

 

For household that is in self-quarantine, our maintenance team and viewing team will not be visiting the property within the 14 – day quarantine period. We will be contacting you after the quarantine period ended. 

 

For more information, please refer to Government’s guideline as follows: 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

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Office closed to General Public Temporarily

Business as usual, with some changes

Dear Customer, 

 

Further to the press conference yesterday by Boris Johnson.  We have made a decision to close the office

to the general public, for the foreseeable future. We will update you when we have further information. 

We will still be operational in the office, but as protection to both yourselves and our staff, any maintenance issues,

need to reported via our website.   Our telephones will still be in operation for emergencies.

 

May I take this opportunity to remind you all to take heed of the advice given by Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty,

in order to protect yourselves.

 

My staff at Mason Knight Properties wish you all the best in the coming weeks.  Be assured that we are still here to

help you in any way we can.

 

Regards

Dr Adrian Mason

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COVID – 19 NHS NOTICES

Please follow the government advice on NHS Website

OverviewCoronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

These pages are for the public. There is coronavirus information for health professionals on the NHS England website.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Read our advice about staying at home.

Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

How coronavirus is spread

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Treatment for coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

You’ll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.

Government response and action plan

Useful links https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

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10 Key Dates for Landlord & Investors 2020

Every year brings additional changes to legislation, taxation and the wider property market that landlords must stay on top of, and 2020 is no exception. Increased regulation, changes in buy to let tax relief and an unsettled market combine to make being a landlord more challenging than it can sometimes look from the outside.

The Government has announced its intention to introduce a Renters’ Reform Bill, which it says will abolish the use of ‘no fault’ evictions, improve the possession process for landlords, and introduce a lifetime deposit, along with measures to expand the database of rogue landlords and letting agents. Exact timings for these changes are not yet clear.

But there are a number of legal changes that will take effect in 2020, as well as some interesting events. From the imminent introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) to changes to tax relief, here are some key dates for the 2020 calendar that every landlord/investor should be aware of.


  1. (TBC) Pet friendly tenancies

The Secretary of State announced a revision of the Model Tenancy Agreement for assured shorthold tenancies in the private rented sector on 4 January. The revision is intended to make it easier for tenants with pets to find landlords who will accept them.

It removes restrictions on responsible tenants with pets and encourages landlords who use the Model Tenancy Agreement to offer greater flexibility in their approach to pet ownership. We should get a Trading Standards announcement on pet rents shortly and a revised Model Tenancy Agreement will be published on Gov.uk.

 

  1. From 20 March 2020 the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 will come into force for periodic tenancies in England

When it was implemented on 20 March last year, the Act applied only to new tenancies, including renewals. From 20 March 2020, it will apply to all private and social periodic tenancies that existed before 20 March 2019.

The only exception to this are tenancies that are on a fixed term that began before 20 March 2019 – the Act won’t apply in these few cases until the end of that fixed term.

Replacing the existing fitness for human habitation clauses in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, this legislation applies to all human habitation tenancies lasting up to seven years.

Essentially, it exists to protect tenants and ensure their property is fit for purpose – and allows them to take legal action should this not be the case. Find out whether you are compliant.


  1. 1 April 2020: Minimum energy efficiency standards regulations extended

Landlords should be familiar with the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) that came into effect in April 2018.

This states that new tenancy agreements and renewals (other than some HMOs, such as bedsits), must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E or above.


  1. April 2020 (and onwards): Further changes to mortgage interest tax relief

The phasing in of new buy to let mortgage tax relief laws began in 2017-18, with landlords having been required to change the way they declare rental income since April 2017. This has led to increased tax bills – and the rise is set to continue.

In the 2019-2020 tax year, landlords were only able to claim 25 per cent mortgage tax relief, down from 50 per cent the year before and 75 per cent the year before that. In 2020-21, landlords won’t be able to claim any tax relief on mortgage interest payments at all.

Instead, from April 2020, landlords will receive a 20 per cent tax credit on their interest payments. This will impact those in the higher tax bracket, which could now include landlords who will have to declare the rental income that they previously used for interest payments.


  1. April 2020 (and onwards): Changes to private residence relief

Changes to private residence relief from April 2020 will mean that landlords will lose nine months’worth of capital gains tax relief when they come to sell. Currently, landlords can claim private residence relief for the whole time they lived in a property before they let it out, in addition to an extra 18 months after moving out. This final exemption period will be reduced from April to the time they lived in the property plus just nine months after the property has been vacated.


  1. April 2020 (and onwards): Changes to capital gains tax and lettings relief

Landlords who rent out a property that was once their main home currently receive £40,000 worth of lettings relief. From April, only landlords who share an occupancy with their tenants will be able to claim. From April 2020, the deadline for payment of the capital gains tax bill will also change: from 31 January in the year after the tax year the landlord made the sale, to within 30 days of the completion of the sale.


  1. 12 May 2020: Landlord Law Conference

Landlord Law is an annual event for landlords, letting agents and anyone working in the private rented sector. It’s a great opportunity to get up to date with all the legislative changes that have taken place over the last few years and that are planned for 2020. Suzy Hershman, Head of Dispute Resolution at mydeposits will be providing a deposit update and Paul Shamplina will be talking about current eviction issues.


  1. June: Extension of Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act, which came into force in England in June 2019, will be extended to cover all existing tenancies in June 2020. Read our Tenant Fees Act FAQs for more guidance on permitted fees and the impact of the Act on deposits. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has provided more information on the latest situation in Wales.


  1. June 2020: Brexit stocktaking

The EU-UK political declaration agreed as part of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, says a summit should take place in June so that Britain and the EU27 can assess the progress of the talks.

Although Mr Johnson has pledged not to request an extension of Britain’s transition period, June is the final opportunity to do so.

Brexit could bring about changes in regulations for overseas buy to let property investors, it could also mean greater challenges for foreign tenants looking to rent a property.

In the meantime, the Government has reassured landlords and letting agents that they should continue with Right to Rent checks on EU nationals in the run-up to the introduction of a points based-system. The new immigration rules won’t affect Right to Rent until 31 June 2021.


  1. 1 July 2020: Introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks for new tenancies

Landlords are already required to make sure that the wiring and appliances in their properties are safe, but from July it will be a legal requirement for private landlords to have their electrical installations inspected every five years and provide safety certificates to tenants and their local authority.

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MasonKnight GDPR Policy

This is an important notice regarding your privacy and the way in which MasonKnight Properties (referred to as “we”, “our”, “us” in this policy) collects and makes use of your personal data. We want to be open and transparent with you, and therefore encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about this policy or the ways in which we use your personal data.

This policy applies to our applicants, prospective tenants, tenants, business contacts (i.e. contractors), suppliers and clients. We take our privacy responsibilities seriously and are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This policy sets out the basis on which any personal data we collect from you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us. Please read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will treat it.

For the purpose of applicable privacy legislation, the data controller is MasonKnight Properties, 201B Tiverton Road, Selly Oak, B29 6DB. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to our Data Protection Compliance Manager who can be contacted at dataprotectionofficer@masonknightproperties.com. The Data Protection Compliance Manager is responsible for ensuring compliance with relevant data protection legislation and with this policy. Any questions about the operation of this policy or any concerns that the policy has not been followed should be referred in the first instance to the Data Protection Compliance Manager.

  1. What information do we hold about you?

We may collect, store and use personal data about you (referred to throughout this privacy policy as personal information):

Applicants, Prospective tenants, tenants

  • Personal contact details such as your name, title, address, telephone number, date of birth and e-mail address.
  • Tenancy information (including personal information such as copies of IDs, your National Insurance number, your proof of earnings, your guarantor’s information including IDs, and proof of earnings).

Business contacts, suppliers

  • Contact details such as your name, title, business and personal addresses, and business and personal telephone numbers, and business and personal e-mail addresses.
  • Information that you provide or we collect during our interactions with you or your employer, such as how long we have done business with you or general information of your business

 

Clients

  • Personal contact details such as your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Copies of your IDs with your consent
  • Payment information such as Account Name, Account Number and sort code
  • Other personal information provided to us, for example, your registered company’s information

Contractors and Suppliers

  • Personal details such as your name, address, email address, bank account information and telephone number.

Generally

  • If you visit our offices, images and videos are recorded by the CCTV system in operation on our premises.
  • Any personal information you provide to us during your interactions with us.
  1. How will we use your personal information and what is the legal ground we rely on for doing so?

We will only use your personal information when the law allows us to. When we use your personal information, we must have a legal ground for doing so. The following are (amongst others) the legal grounds by which we can use your personal information:

  • Where you have provided us with your consent for us to do so;
  • Where we need to perform the contract we have entered into with you or to take steps to enter into a contract with you;
  • Where we need to comply with a legal obligation to which we are subject;
  • Where it is in pursuit of our legitimate interests (or those of a third party) and your interests and fundamental rights do not override those interests.

More specifically, we will use your personal information in the following circumstances:

Applicants, Prospective tenants, tenants:

  • To evaluate and progress your application for tenancy with us – to perform the contract with you or to take steps to enter into a contract with you, and in pursuit of our legitimate interests to verify your suitability for tenancy of the property
  • To carry out right to rent checks – to comply with a legal obligation.

Business contacts, suppliers

  • Your contact details to provide you with information on our products and services. This may include technical information and/or marketing information – in pursuit of our legitimate interests in keeping you informed about our products, services and business updates.
  • us with your consent for us to do so.
  • To provide potential customer samples – in pursuit of our legitimate interests in keeping you informed about our products, services and business updates.

Clients

  • Dealing with your enquiry made– in pursuit of our legitimate interests to ensure your enquiry is dealt with promptly and efficiently.
  • Your contact details to provide you with information on our products and services. This may include marketing information – where you have provided us with your consent for us to do so.
  • To carry out right to rent checks – to comply with a legal obligation.

Contractors and Suppliers

  • Your personal details – in pursuit of our legitimate interests (to facilitate business between you and us).

Generally

  • To ensure our premises are kept secure – in pursuit of our legitimate interests (in ensuring our premises are kept secure and to keep evidence of this).
  • To administer our website and for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research, statistical and survey purposes – in pursuit of our legitimate interests (to better understand how people interact with our website and solve any issues it may have).
  • To transfer to third party service providers – in pursuit of our legitimate interests (in credit and income check carried out by legitimate referencing agency or solicitor).
  • To contact you if we wish to use your information for a purpose not set out in this policy – to comply with a legal obligation.
  1. What happens if there is a change of purpose?

We will only use your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will notify you and we will explain the legal basis which allows us to do so.

  1. Which type of third parties might we share your personal information with?

We require third parties to respect the security of your personal information and to treat it in accordance with the law. For example, where we instruct third party service providers, we carry out due diligence on those providers to ensure they treat your personal information as seriously as we do.

We may share your personal information with the following types of third parties:

  • Solicitors and credit referencing company to carry out credit checks
  • Local council, utility providers for bills information relating to the property
  • Government authorised deposit scheme
  • Providers which host our software data and App Data in their data centres (We use servers in the UK. We have put in place standard contractual clauses between these to ensure the transfer of personal data is lawful).
  • Customer relationship management software used during the course of business.
  1. Data retention

How long will we use your personal information for?

We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for. We assess the appropriate retention period for different information based on the size, volume, nature and sensitivity of that information, the potential risk of harm to you from unauthorised use or disclosure of that information, the purposes for which we are using that information, applicable legal requirements for holding that information, and whether we can achieve those purpose(s) through other means.

Applicants, prospective tenants, tenants

  • Where your application for tenancy with us is successful, we will provide you with further information as to how we use your personal information during the course of your employment.
  • Where your application for tenancy is unsuccessful, we will keep your personal information and application details, for 6 months.

Business contacts and suppliers

The period we keep your personal information depends on a number of circumstances. For example:

  • Where we have collected your personal information during the course of your and our organisations doing business, we will keep your personal information for as long as this business continues, or for as long as we have a commercial interest in holding your personal information, for example, with a view to doing business in the future.
  • Where you have consented to us using your photograph or logos for marketing purposes for as long as we still have your consent.

Clients

  • If you have consented to receiving marketing information, we will keep your personal information for as long as we still have your consent.

Contractors and Suppliers

  • We will keep your personal information for as long as we and you do business together or for as long as we have a commercial interest in holding your personal information or company information, for example, with a view to doing business in the future.

 

Generally

  • Any data collected through our CCTV system is stored by our building managers.
  1. Where we store your personal data

Electronic versions of your personal information are stored on servers in the UK. Where we use third party service providers to assist us, your personal information may also be stored in accordance with their practices and procedures. We require third parties to respect your personal information and to treat it in accordance with the law.

  1. Rights of access, correction, erasure and restriction

Your rights in connection with your personal information

Under certain circumstances, by law you have the right to:

  • Request access to your personal information (known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold about you corrected.
  • Request the erasure of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information when there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to stop processing personal information where we are relying on a legitimate interest and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

If you want to review, verify, correct or request erasure of your personal information, object to the processing of your personal data, or request that we transfer a copy of your personal information to another party, please contact our Data Protection Compliance Manager in writing using the contact details set out at the beginning of this privacy policy.

  1. No fee usually required

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal information (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request for access is clearly unfounded or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with the request in such circumstances.

  1. What we may need from you

We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access any personal information (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal information is not disclosed to another person who has no right to receive it.

  1. Right to withdraw consent

In the limited circumstances where you may have provided your consent to the collection, processing and transfer of your personal information for a specific purpose, you have the right to withdraw your consent for that specific processing at any time. To withdraw your consent, please contact our Data Protection Compliance Manager in writing using the contact details set out at the beginning of this privacy policy. Once we have received notification that you have withdrawn your consent, we will no longer process your personal information for the purpose or purposes you originally agreed to, unless we have another legitimate basis for doing so.

  1. What happens if you fail to provide personal information?

If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you (such as providing you with our products or services), or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations .

  1. Right to complain

You have the right to make a complaint if you wish to do so. The organisation with oversight of our processing is the Information Commissioner’s Office, which can be contacted in writing at Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, by telephone (0303 123 1113) or by e-mail (casework@ico.org.uk).

  1. Changes to this privacy notice

We may change, modify, add or remove portions of this policy at any time, and any changes will become effective immediately. Any changes we make to our privacy policy will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you.




Last updated May 2018

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Compulsory Electrical Certificate goes live this Summer 2020

Compulsory Electrical Certificate goes live this Summer

The Government has proposed detailed regulations for enforcing mandatory five-year electrical safety checks in the private rented sector from July this year. 

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 were laid in Parliament yesterday. They require approval from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they come into force. 

We have written to the Government to highlight unintended consequences that could arise from the current definition of the electrical safety standards. As it stands, the current draft could mean that almost all properties will not meet the new standards and properties built before mid-2019 will need to perform unnecessary installation work. Our proposals, also stress the need to ensure that there are enough qualified people to do the work.

New requirements for mandatory electrical safety checks 

The draft regulations propose that, from 1 July 2020, all new private tenancies in England will need to ensure that electrical installations are inspected and tested by a qualified person before the tenancy begins. The landlord will then need to ensure that the installation is inspected and tested at least every five years – and more often if the most recent safety report requires it. 

For existing tenancies, an electrical safety test will need to be carried out by 1 April 2021, with regular tests following this as outlined above. 

The regulations will apply to all properties across the private rented sector, including houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), although lodger arrangements where the tenant shares accommodation or amenities with the landlord or their family are excluded. These regulations will replace the existing requirements for HMOs regarding electrical installation testing and inspection.  

A ‘qualified person’ for the purposes of these regulations is a person competent to undertake the inspection and testing required and any further investigative or remedial work in accordance with the electrical safety standards. 

Local authorities can impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 for a breach of the regulations. Where there are multiple breaches, the local authority can impose multiple penalties. 

Electrical safety reports 

Once the electrical installation has been tested, the landlord must: 

  • Ensure they receive a written report from the person conducting the inspection, which includes the results and the required date for the next inspection 
  • Supply a copy of this report to each existing tenant living in the property within 28 days of the inspection 
  • Supply a copy within seven days to the local authority, if they request a copy 
  • Keep a copy of the report until the next inspection, and give a copy to the person undertaking the next inspection. 

For new tenancies, the landlord must: 

  • Give a copy of the most recent report to a new tenant before the tenant occupies the property 
  • Give a copy of the most recent report to any prospective new tenant who requests the report in writing, within 28 days of receiving such a request. 

Remedying any faults 

If the electrical safety report identifies a fault or potential fault, which the landlord must either investigate further or repair, the landlord must ensure further investigations or repairs are completed by a qualified person within 28 days of the inspection, or within the timeframe set out in the report if this is shorter. 

Following these further investigations or repairs, the landlord must ensure they receive written confirmation that these have been carried out and that either the electrical safety standards are met, or further work is required. 

This confirmation must be supplied to each existing tenant and to the local housing authority within 28 days of the work being undertaken, along with the original report identifying further work is required. 

This process must be repeated until the electrical installation is found to be compliant. 

Enforcement 

If a landlord breaches the above requirements, the local authority has a duty to act. Where urgent works are not required, the local authority must serve a ‘remedial notice’ on the landlord. This must be served within 21 days of the local authority deciding it has reasonable grounds to act. The landlord will have 28 days from the date of service of the notice to take the action outlined, or must make written representations within 21 days if they disagree with the notice. 

Once the landlord has made written representations, the remedial notice is suspended until the local authority responds – which must be within seven days. If the local authority confirms the notice, the suspension ceases, and the landlord has 21 days to comply with the requirements. 

If the tenants of the property refuse access to the landlord for these remedial works, the landlord will not be considered to have breached this duty purely because they have not brought legal proceedings to access the property. 

If the landlord does not undertake the remedial works, the local authority can access the property with the tenants’ permission to remedy the issue. The local authority must serve notice to the landlord informing them of this action – to which the landlord can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. Local authorities can also recover costs reasonably incurred from the landlord. 

Where urgent remedial works are required and the landlord has not undertaken these, the local authority can arrange for the works to be undertaken. The local authority must inform the landlord within seven days of the works commencing. 

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Closing Period for Christmas and New Year 2020

Christmas Period
  1. Office Close period: Office will be closed from 21st Dec Saturday and will re-open on 2nd Jan Thursday. The maintenance team will also be off from 21st Dec – 2nd Jan.
  2. Security of the property: As your house will be empty for few weeks, It is required that the last person leaving the house take pre-cautions such as : lock all the windows and doors, set the security alarm, and leave one or two landing lights on to give impression that someone is at home.
  3. Heating of the property: December and Jan are extremely cold period and properties are prone to frost damage during this time of the year especially when extreme weather hits. Therefore, it is required that you take precautions such as: leave the central heating on a constant low – minimum approximately 16c (62F) – to maintain frost free condition. Proper precautions would eliminate the chances of frozen, burst pipes or boiler breaking down during and after the holiday period. If you are on card meter, please make sure that there is enough credit in the meter to last for the holiday period, if the central heating breaks down due to insufficient credit in the meter, the tenants will be responsible for engineer call out charges. if the central heating breaks down due to frozen pipes due to precautions not taken, the tenants will be responsible for engineer call out charges.
  4. Waste and Recycling: If you will be away for more than 1 week, please remember to do your bins before you go away. Please make sure you don’t leave any food out that would go off during this period. Food source will attract vermin such as rats, mice or other types of pests. We suggest you have a sort out of the food in the fridge before you go as well, because nothing is worse than coming back to fridge full of food that is gone off, the smell will be very unpleasant.

If the measures above are taken,
then you will have a nice warm house to return to when you are back.

We hope this message helps

And Finally we wish you a Merry
Christmas and Happy New Year.

If you have any questions or
need any advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us

All the Best

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Tenant Fee Act 2019

What you need to know about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 – how will it impact tenancy deposits?
– May 2019
by Millie Wickens

From 1 June 2019, the Tenant Fees Act comes into force, prohibiting landlords and agents from charging any fees to tenants, other than those ‘permitted’ by the Act. Any tenancy that is signed on or after 1 June must adhere to the new regulations.

Who does the act apply to?

The Tenant Fees Act applies to assured shorthold tenancies, student accommodation tenancies and licences to occupy housing in the private rented sector.

The act only applies to landlords, agents and tenants in England.

Letting fees are already banned in Scotland and, while they are currently still legal in Wales and Northern Ireland, a ban was put before the Welsh government in June 2018 and is intended to commence this September.

What fees can be charged?

There are a number of fees that are ‘permitted’. These include:

  • Rent
  • A refundable holding deposit (up to one week’s rent per property)
  • Tenancy deposit (exclusions apply, see below for more information)
  • Changes to the tenancy (for example, introduction of a pet, permission to run a business from the property or other amends that change the contractual responsibilities. This is capped at £50 per change unless the landlord is able to prove that the resulting cost was higher AND is reasonable)
  • Utilities (electric, gas, water)
  • Council tax, TV licence fees, communication fees (e.g. telephone, broadband etc.)
  • Fee for early termination of tenancy/surrender fee – the landlord must be able to show reasonable loss has been suffered, for example as a result of referencing, re-advertising and can charge rent until the next tenant moves in
  • Default fees which should be written into the tenancy agreement for:
    • late payment of rent – this can only be after 14 days have passed and interest at a maximum of 3 per cent above base rate
    • replacing locks/security fobs. The Guidance states, for example, that a new standard door key could be valued between £3-£10, a specialist door key between £5-£20 or a replacement key fob up to £50; there may be circumstances where it is necessary to pay more and ALL claims must be supported by evidence from the landlord of costs and be reasonable

What fees are prohibited under the act?

Any fees not listed on the government’s ‘permitted’ fees list are prohibited. Landlords and agents are NOT able to charge fees for:

  • Property viewing
  • Referencing
  • Administration charges
  • Guarantors (this can be a condition of the tenancy but you cannot charge fees for meeting this condition)
  • Inventory checks (both check in and check out)
  • Right to Rent checks (the landlord or agent are liable for this cost, unless the tenant fails the check)
  • Pet fees/deposits
  • Renewal/exit fees
  • Interest on permitted payments
  • Professional end of tenancy cleaning – as a special clause (breach of contract ONLY)
  • Third party fees (unless the tenant chooses to undertake the services themselves)
  • Gardening services (unless included within the rent) 

For a full list of permitted and prohibited fees please visit the GOV.UK website for guidance.

Changes to tenancy deposits

As part of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, the amount of tenancy deposit that a landlord or agent can request will be capped and dependent on the total annual rent for the property.

If the total annual rent is less than £50,000, landlords and agents are only permitted to ask tenants to pay up to five weeks’ rent.

If the total annual rent exceeds £50,000 and is below £100,000 then landlords and agents can request up to six weeks’ rent from tenants as a tenancy deposit.

Any deposit taken from a tenant must be protected in one of the three government backed tenancy deposit protection schemes, such as mydeposits, within 30 days of the payment being taken.

GOV.UK advise that you are able to calculate the total annual rent by using the following formulae:

  • total monthly rent x 12
  • total weekly rent x 52

You can also calculate the total weekly rent using one of the following formulae:

  • (your monthly rent x 12) ÷ 52
  • your annual rent ÷ 52

Read more about the tenancy deposit cap in our latest guide.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Penalties for non-compliance are clear and severe. It is therefore important to understand what fees are permitted and remind yourself that if a fee is not on this list, IT IS PROHIBITED.

Breach of legislation will usually be a civil offence carrying a financial penalty of up to £5,000 per fee. Despite this, if a further breach is committed within five years of a financial penalty or if there is a conviction for another breach, this becomes a criminal offence.

The penalty imposed for a criminal offence – a banning order offence under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 – is an unlimited fine.

According to GOV.UK “Where an offence is committed, local authorities may impose a financial penalty of up to £30,000 as an alternative to prosecution.” It is down to the local authority’s discretion as to whether they wish to prosecute or impose a financial penalty.

Failure to repay a tenant’s holding deposit will be treated as a civil offence and carries a penalty of up to £5,000.

In addition, landlords and agents who have charged an unlawful fee will not be able to evict a tenant until they have repaid these fees. Failure to comply with the legislation can therefore have serious ramifications. Penalties will be enforced by trading standards and tenants have the ability to apply to the First Tier Tribunal for a refund of a prohibited fee.

If in doubt it is advisable to seek clarification from GOV.UK. In addition, landlords, letting agents and tenants can read the government’s comprehensive ‘Tenant Fees Act 2019: guidance’ here.

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Meeting with Our Partner in China and East Asia – Uhomes


We had construction meeting with our Partner based in Beijing, China in Dec 2018

MasonKnight has long-standing relationship with one of the biggest real estate agency in China and east Asia UHomes     ( Set up by New Oriental Group, NASDAQ listed). An very constructive meeting had been set up by both parties in Dec 18, and MasonKnight has now become one of the major supplier for Chinese and East Asia Market in private housing sector in Selly Oak/ Harborne/ Edgbaston Area, Birmingham and Worcestershire Area, we will continue our endeavor to have your properties reach the widest audience both in UK and overseas through our partners. 

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Real Estate & Property Awards 2016 – Best Residential Development Specialists – UK

We have been awarded the Best Residential Development Specialists in UK by Build Magazine 2016, below is an article abstract

MasonKnight Properties is a property management company that,
primarily, specialises in the growth of their investor’s property
portfolios. The firm provides advice to clients from initial
acquisition and purchase, micro-managing all projects and
refurbishments to create desirable properties, whether they be residential,
student or holiday lets. Adrian talks us through how the firm serves its wide
range of clients and how its customer focused approach helps it to achieve
its overall mission.
“At MasonKnight, we actively encourage our investor to engage with each
other, share ideas and in some instances join forces on more challenging
projects. Our broad range of clients come from a variety of backgrounds in
IT, finance, surveying, architecture, building, engineering, legal and accountancy.
Essentially we are a letting agent, but instead of working with landlords
we work with investors, acquiring properties which are either high quality
refurbishment projects or new builds.

“Our overall mission is to grow our investors’ portfolios, bringing to the
market properties that represent the very best in thoughtful design, that
embrace the latest of technology and innovation, ultimately producing properties
that are both desirable and affordable to a broad spectrum of society.
We draw on the knowledge and expertise of our dedicated project management
team and design team. Everyone at MasonKnight actively contributes
to the overall design concepts of our builds.”
Looking ahead, Adrian and his Team are optimistic for the future as the firm
looks to grow in order to provide their high quality services to more clients.
“MasonKnight are in a period of rapid growth and as such are currently
expanding both our team and our premises. We are uniquely dedicated to
growing our client base organically. Our priority is in the delivery of a completely
inclusive and personal service to our clients. Our client base is growing
rapidly as a result our clients recommending others to us. This year we have
£2,650,000 of ongoing project work along with numerous acquisitions in the
pipeline and we look forward to the challenge and opportunities this will bring.”

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Interior Design Award 2017- Best Student Residential Development Company

MasonKnight was awarded Best Student Residential Developement Company by Build Magazine 2017. Below is the abstract of the article from Build Magazine

Best Student Residential Development Company - Midlands 2017

MasonKnight Properties offers a totally new experience in lettings,
property management and maintenance. The firm specializes
in prime residential development in Birmingham, nationally
and internationally engaging with landlords, developers and
tenants to create quality properties, which pairs with a service that aims to
provide an outstanding experience. The firm provides advice to clients from
initial acquisition through to purchase, micro-managing all projects and
refurbishments to create desirable properties, whether they be residential,
student or holiday lets.
Adrian Mason explains that the overall mission of MasonKnight Properties
is to “grow our investors’ portfolios, bringing to the market properties that
represent the very best in thoughtful design whilst embracing the latest
technology, thus producing properties that are desirable and affordable
across a broad spectrum of society. We draw on the knowledge and
expertise of our dedicated project management team and design team, and
everyone at MasonKnight actively contributes to the overall design concepts
of our builds.”

The firm’s team of dedicated and professional staff has an extensive
background in property management, acquisition and development, and as
such every client benefits from over 34 years of experience in a wide range
of services that are tailored to their specific needs. Tenants benefit from an
agent that is engaging, conscientious and that is constantly striving to bring
higher levels of service, that will provide their tenants with an experience that
only MasonKnight can offer.


Ultimately, with numerous colleges and universities in the vicinity,
Birmingham offers MasonKnight the ideal base from which to offer quality student accommodation services. The firm is uniquely dedicated to
growing their client base organically, with their focus on the delivery of a
completely inclusive and personal service to their clients. Moving forward,
MasonKnight’s ongoing focus will remain on providing the very highest
standards of service to everyone it works with. The firm’s team of dedicated and professional staff has an extensive
background in property management, acquisition and development, and as
such every client benefits from over 34 years of experience in a wide range
of services that are tailored to their specific needs. Tenants benefit from an
agent that is engaging, conscientious and that is constantly striving to bring
higher levels of service, that will provide their tenants with an experience that
only MasonKnight can offer. 

The firm’s team of dedicated and professional staff has an extensive
background in property management, acquisition and development, and as
such every client benefits from over 34 years of experience in a wide range
of services that are tailored to their specific needs. Tenants benefit from an
agent that is engaging, conscientious and that is constantly striving to bring
higher levels of service, that will provide their tenants with an experience that
only MasonKnight can offer.

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Help to Buy ISA Ends Next Month

What is it?
The Government’s Help to Buy ISA was set up to help first-time buyers save for a mortgage deposit. The benefits are two-fold: savings are interest-free, and the Government will also contribute, up to a maximum of £3,000.

How much can I get?
The Government will pay 25% of the amount invested, from a minimum of £1,600 invested to a maximum of £12,000. It’s also worth bearing in mind this ISA is available per person and not per home, so a couple who qualify can receive £6,000 from the Government to help secure their first home.

What are the timings?
Those who still want to take advantage of this scheme need to hurry up as it closes to new savers after 30 November 2019. Anyone who has already set it up can keep saving and must claim their bonus by 1 December 2030.

How do I set it up?
To set up a Help to Buy ISA just visit your bank or building society who will sort out all the relevant paperwork.

I have more questions…
It’s important you look into this properly to check it’s right for you and that you understand all the restrictions – visit https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/help-to-buy-isa/faq/