Landlord Law Newsround #338

Landlord Law Blog NewsroundWelcome to our weekly Newsround where we bring you the latest housing news that has been trending this week.

Are you harbouring a cuckoo?

Cuckooing is fast becoming a new growing concern for landlords.

It is where a vulnerable person is exploited by a criminal gang who take over the vulnerable persons home.

The gangs will single out lonely or isolated people who may also have mental health issues or learning difficulties and the gang members will befriend the person and move into their home and carry out illegal activities from drug dealing to human trafficking and other serious crimes.

Landlords should be on their guard for this as it poses a serious risk to their property and legal standing. Not only can this property damage be devastating, it canbe quite a task getting rid of the illegal tenants even once your tenant has left.

On top of this it can lead to criminal investigations on yourself as the landlord purely by association of just being the landlord.

Eleanor Trapaud a landlord and tenant solicitor at Woodstock Legal Services says

Unknowingly allowing illegal activity on a property can expose you to criminal investigations and potential legal trouble while being associated with cuckooing can harm your reputation as a landlord. As a responsible landlord you have a duty of care towards your tenants; cuckooing poses a serious threat to their safety and well-being.

Landlords should carry out proper reference checks, do regular property inspections and communicate regularly with their tenant, especially if your property is in an area of concern. A landlord should report any suspicions to the local authority and police as soon as possible.

If you are unfamiliar with doing inspections note that we have a highly regarded Property Inspection Kit.  This can be purchased but is also available free of charge to our Landlord Law Business Level members.

Letting Agents are not ready for rental reform

A new survey by Goodlord has revealed that the majority of letting agents are not preparing themselves enough for the changes that the Rental Reform will bring in.

One main concern is the change to periodic tenancies.  Letting agents will need to update contracts and clarify new procedures around such things as rent reviews.

The report states that only 2% of agents have started making changes already to their tenancy procedures and arrangements in preparation for the new legislation coming in. 30% say they are starting to ‘think through’ what they will need to do, but 57% have given it no thought at all.

Oli Sherlock of Goodlord says

With little certainty on timings of both the commencement date and subsequent timings for provisions thereafter, letting agents will continue to be in somewhat of a limbo. What is clear is that the impending changes are not simple and landlords will require the professionalism of letting now more than ever before.

Students angry at ‘watered down’ Renters Reform Bill

The National Union of Students has accused the government of giving in to landlord’s lobbying so that it will not include student renters. They claim they do not have the same protection given to other tenants and that there is now a ‘two-tier rental market’.

At the third reading of the Bill, a new eviction clause was added, giving landlords who rent to students the unique right to remove student tenants from their properties if they refuse to leave once their academic year has finished, thus giving landlords who rent to students certainty due to the different nature of student lets.

Chloe Field the National Union of Students vice president, said

To have the Government throw this away and ensure that landlords continue to have all the power is unforgiveable. Students will be free to make their views heard on the Government’s caving to Tory landlords clear at the ballot box come the election. And make no mistake: We will.

Mind you, unless the eviction process is speeded up considerably, this new eviction procedure will not help landlords get rid of student tenants who refuse to vacate.  It currently takes in excess of six months which is a long time to expect incoming student tenants to wait for vacant possession to be obtained.

Scotland’s new minister warned to prioritise the housing crisis

Scotland’s new First Minister John Swinney has been warned that he needs to prioritise housing as five councils have now declared a housing emergency and rent controls have been put into question which would allow councils to make their own controls.

Timothy Dalton of Propertymark says

Having previously held senior positions within the Scottish Government, Propertymark member agents will look to Mr Swinney to confront the challenges the housing market faces head-on and work with the sector to ensure housing plays a positive role in building the economy, improving health and supporting job creation.

Propertymark is against rent controls as they say that it has not benefited the Scottish private rental sector, and in their survey claim that landlords are more likely to raise rents between tenancies because of the rent controls that have been in place. The Green Party is keen to keep rent controls in place.

We took a look at rent control in our post here.


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Government insulation scheme flops with tiny take-up so far
I will build at least 10,000 council homes. As for right to buy – suspend it for new properties – Andy Burnham
Service of prescribed documents – deemed or actual?

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #338 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.





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