Leeds Property Association
Code of Practice and Complaints Procedure
Last updated 30 July 2022
The Leeds Property Association (LPA) was formed in 1972 to promote the interests of residential landlords operating in the private rental sector in Leeds and the surrounding areas.
The LPA Code of Practice (‘CoP’) is intended to raise and maintain standards in the private rented sector. It reinforces legal requirements and standards of best practice members of the LPA are required to observe in connection with the letting and management of residential property.
Members of the LPA (‘members’) are required to observe the CoP and agree to submit to any relevant investigation brought in relation to allegations of breach. The contents of the CoP form an integral part of the conditions of membership of the LPA.
The CoP does not seek to encompass all members’ legal obligations and it remains a member’s responsibility to abide by relevant legal requirements. Should there be any inconsistency between the CoP and relevant legislation, legislation will take precedence.
This CoP may be amended as necessary by the Board of the LPA. Members will be notified of any changes.
2) General Duties
Compliance with Legal Obligations
- Members shall make all reasonable efforts to remain familiar and comply with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and ensure that any staff and contractors are aware of any requirements relevant to their jobs.
- Where not specifically referenced by the CoP, relevant legislation shall be considered by implication and default as part of the CoP.
- Members shall act in all business dealings, whether directly related to the letting or management of residential property or not, in an honest fashion.
- Members shall not knowingly mislead, misrepresent, or deceive members of the public.
- Members will not discriminate in dealings with members of the public or any third party.
- No individuals shall be excluded from access to employment, accommodation, or other business dealings or receive less favourable treatment based on any protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010.
Assisting the LPA
- Members agree to take all reasonable steps to assist the LPA in relation to any allegations of misconduct or breaches of the CoP.
3) Specific Duties
- Advertising material must not aim to mislead, give a false impression or misdirect.
- All advertising and marketing material must be clear, legal and truthful.
- Wherever possible, advertising materials should include reference to LPA membership.
- Properties should not be advertised as “party houses or as being in a “student area” .
- To Let boards must comply with the Council’s Letting Board Code.
Creating a Tenancy
- Members shall provide tenants with a written statement of the terms of their occupancy.
- Where possible, terms should be provided far enough in advance of the proposed commencement of any occupancy to allow prospective tenants to seek relevant advice.
- Members will make reasonable efforts to assist prospective tenants with the understanding of their terms of occupancy.
- Tenants should be made aware of any anti-social behaviour clauses in the tenancy agreement.
- Where tenants are signing a joint tenancy agreement, they should be made aware that each party is jointly and individually (severally) responsible for paying the full rent.
- Members should explain to all tenants the meaning of a fixed term tenancy and indicate whether a break clause applies.
Maintaining a Tenancy
- Members shall treat their tenants and any relevant third party with appropriate courtesy and respect.
- Members will encourage tenant-like and neighbourly behaviour from tenants. In the event of any anti-social behaviour (defined as “behaviour likely to cause alarm, harassment, inconvenience or distress to members of the public not of the same household as the perpetrator”) by tenants and/or visitors, landlords will use reasonable endeavours to intervene, with a view to ending that behaviour and ensure that the occupants are treating the property and its environs in a tenant-like manner.
- Members shall not, as far as is possible, share or disclose tenants’ personal information except in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018.
- Members shall promptly acknowledge receipt of all communications received from their tenants or their representatives.
- Members shall provide relevant contact details for the management of emergencies.
- Members shall inform tenants of any change to ownership or management of their home without delay.
- Members shall attend to all matters of disrepair reported to them without unreasonable delay and within a reasonable timescale, and give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice of the date, time and purpose of any visit (except in the case of an emergency or if shorter prior permission has been given by the tenant).
- Members shall make regular checks to ensure there is no redundant household furniture in gardens or yards. Tenants must be given written communications for instructions and timescale for disposal of such items.
- Members shall carry out regular inspections of external areas to ensure that litter, glass, bottles, cardboard and waste materials are being removed either by tenants or contractors.
- Members shall ensure that gardens and yards are regularly maintained (as seasonally required). Hedges and plants around the property must be kept trimmed low (usually not higher than 1m), wherever practical, to avoid providing screening for burglars. Plants and shrubs should not be allowed to obstruct the pavements or other public areas surrounding the property.
- Members shall ensure that all boundary walls, paving and fences are maintained stable and in good repair.
- Members shall ensure that the exterior of the property is well maintained and in good decorative order. This involves a planned cycle of repainting/repointing/replacing rotten windows/frames/cills/doors etc.
- Graffiti shall be removed from any external surfaces as soon as possible where this is practical.
- Members will take all reasonable steps to ensure that residential property remains fit for human habitation for the duration of any tenancy.
Ending a Tenancy
- Members shall ensure that they, or their representatives, do not harass their tenant or undertake any action that would constitute illegal eviction of their tenant.
- When seeking to end a tenancy, a member shall ensure they, or their representatives, are following the correct legal procedure to bring the agreement to an end.
- Members shall not refuse to provide a tenant with a reference for the purposes of securing a new tenancy without good cause.
- The LPA can accept complaints about its landlord members in relation to their lettings and management activities pursuant to private residential property.
- Complaints may relate to the breach of any section of the CoP and/or terms and conditions of LPA membership.
- The LPA is not a regulatory body and cannot order redress against its members or compel compliance. However, a member’s refusal to comply with the LPA’s sanctions may lead to their expulsion from membership.
The LPA cannot accept complaints which
- are being assessed or dealt with by another authority, such as a redress scheme, ombudsman, or Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS).
- have previously been adjudicated by a court or other relevant body.
- are related to protected tenancy deposits. These must be referred to the relevant tenancy deposit protection scheme.
- are currently the subject of a criminal investigation.
- relate to a member’s activity as a letting agent. Such complaints must be directed to the relevant authorised redress body.
Complaints may be made by
- members’ tenants.
- authorised representatives of members’ tenants, where a letter of authorisation has been received by the LPA.
- representatives of relevant public bodies.
- interested members of the public.
- staff and officers of the LPA, where a member’s actions are alleged to bring the LPA into disrepute.
Members will co-operate with any relevant parties that have a genuine interest in the issue until resolution, including the Council, Police, Universities and neighbours.
- A complaint may usually only be accepted if it is made during a tenancy, or within three months of the tenancy being brought to an end, and within 12 months of the alleged breach of the CoP.
- All complaints should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The LPA will acknowledge receipt of all legitimate complaints within five business days.
- All complaints accepted as legitimate will be handled in accordance with the LPA Complaints Procedure.
If the allegations against a member are adjudicated to constitute a breach of the CoP, the LPA may impose the following sanctions:
- Informal warning
- Formal warning
- Remedial action
- Audit of premises and/or processes
- Improvement plan
- Relevant training
- Suspension of services
- Expulsion from membership
The CoP cannot and does not supersede the normal operation of law. A complainant retains the right throughout the complaints process to choose to take their complaint to law.