Reason for contacting Clear
The recent growth in demand for student accommodation resulted in the university client acquiring long-term rented properties without the relevant key documentation.
The portfolio in question relates to approximately 40 properties, all houses and flats providing multiple occupation.
The client was unaware of their responsibilities in terms of what compliance was required and when.
Problems and issues identified by Clear
Absence of key documentation - no fire risk assessment (FRA) or electrical installation condition report (EICR) documentation was in place to support any of the properties.
Sense of urgency – since students were already in situ the client required an immediate response to maintain compliance.
Access & demographic – the nature of the property usage ie for student lets, represented a challenge since access to student accommodation is historically problematic for varying reasons. This includes the fact that many of the flats/houses are inhabited by overseas students who have a limited understanding of the need for compliance checks.
The Clear Response
Clear’s response was immediate.
- The initial call was received on Wednesday late afternoon. By Wednesday evening, Clear had provided a proposal outlining recommended activity.
- A fire risk assessor was on site to review the first properties on the Friday of the same week.
- The first EICRs were conducted on the following Monday.
- Clear’s admin team worked hard to address the challenges faced and, all inspection visits were booked for the week following the initial call.
- Clear advised the client of their responsibility to licence their properties as HMOs (house in multiple occupation) and made the initial contact with LHA (local housing authority), passing on all the relevant information to the client.
- All FRAs and EICRs delivered within the month.
- The university employed a specialist to undertake HMO licensing on their behalf following Clear’s initial checks and advice.
- The client was delighted with the expedited response and the resulting ability to evidence full compliance within such a short time frame.
Following this initial tranche of work, the client has extended its working relationship with Clear. Clear is now instructed to carry out initial property checks, desktop certificate reviews on rental opportunities for the university, and to undertake site visits for FRAs, EICRs and LGSRs (landlord gas safety records) for all properties when tenanted as and when required. In addition, where necessary, Clear actions site visits to check the general condition of housing stock (including damp / mould etc inspections) to ensure the university demonstrates continued best practices and adherence to all compliance requirements.