Landlord Law Newsround #340

Welcome to another Newsround and what started off as a normal week has ended with us all set for a snap general election.

Whilst the conservatives have left us short of some 300,000 new homes per year will Labour deliver affordable housing that is desperately required if they come into to power?

And, what will happen to the Renters Reform Bill now? Lets look at that first.

Critical housing bills likely to be lost as a General Election is called

As everyone reading this will no doubt be aware, a general election has been called for 4 July.

This means that many important bills making their way through Parliament will be lost.  The only way they can be saved is if they are rushed through today, the final day MPs will sit, known as the washup period.

As I write this, things are still uncertain.  It looks as if the Renters Reform Bill is lost but that the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill could still become law.  It is due to be debated in the House of Lords today.  By the time you read this, we may know.

After so much work and effort it is a big disappointment for many people that the Renters Reform Bill will be lost and hopefully the new government will tackle this as a priority upon taking office.  If this is, as expected, a Labour government, it is to be hoped that they deal with this in a way that will not further decentivise landlords and prompt more to sell up and leave the sector.

Ben Beadle of the NRLA said

If true, it is hugely disappointing that this Bill will not now make it into law. The news comes despite the fact that the Bill was in a state which would work for tenants and responsible landlords.

There has been too much dither and delay in government, and a failure to be clear about how to ensure changes would work in practice. Critically, the market now faces yet more crippling uncertainty about what the future of the private rented sector looks like.

Reforming the sector will be an important issue for the next government and we will work constructively with them to ensure changes are fair and workable. That means empowering tenants to challenge rogue and criminal landlords whilst ensuring the confidence of responsible landlords to stay in the market.

We all wait to see with interest what the party’s manifestos say about housing.

Right to Rent rules updated

The home office has relaxed the Right to Rent rules for pre-settled status extensions from two to five years and the pre-settled status expiry date will be removed from the digital profiles in the online checking services for Right to Rent.

Furthermore, landlords and letting agents will not have to carry out more right-to-rent checks as part of that tenancy agreement. This is part of the EU Settlement Scheme you can read more about this update on the government website here.

However, it is my hope that a Labour government, if elected, will abolish this discriminatory practice altogether.

Landlords support a tenants register

A poll out this week from Leaders Romans Group state that ‘good landlords’ are less concerned about the changes coming via the Rental Reform Bill and more concerned about the continuing financial pressures that are put upon them. They also would welcome more ‘financial responsibility‘ to be put on tenants with 70% of landlords wanting rent arrears added to a tenants credit score, which they say would deter late payments.

45% of landlords also would support a tenant register to help landlords when selecting tenants to see if they have previously had issues. This would allow them to make better decisions on choosing a tenant.

A landlord commented

A tenant register would hopefully ‘black list’ those who default on rent or cause nuisance, so they are unable to re-rent with a different landlord.

Landlords also want to see a dedicated housing court for evictions with a more streamlined and quicker process.

Is your Section 21 Valid?

A leading writer on residential property, Tom Entwistle states that due to the ever changing acts of Parliament over the years and successive changes to rules that landlords have faced, they need to be very clear that when serving a section 21 that they have complied correctly to serving all the legal documentation to tenants. He states that the following needs to apply in order to serve a valid section 21 notice:-

  • You are seeking possession after 4 months of the tenancy starting
  • The property is licensed (if applicable)
  • The deposit was put into a recognised scheme within 30 days
  • No improvement notices have been served
  • Any unlawful fees have been repaid

A landlord also need to have served in the correct manner and at the correct time:-

  • EPC certificate
  • Current ‘How to Rent Guide’
  • Current Gas Safety Certificate
  • Current electrical safety certificate

He details the court case of Van-Herpen v Green & Green, where the notice was thought to be invalid by the way in which it was served with issues over the gas safety certificate. The court dismissed the case and the landlord was ordered to pay all the court costs.

This goes to show that landlords need to absolutely meticulous and diligent about serving the correct documentation at the correct time and not only that, but how the documentation needs to be served which if often what is stated by law or is written in the tenancy agreement. Finally, always, always always make sure you get proof by way of signature from the tenant that the documents have been received by them.

We have detailed guidance for landlords on section 21 including our Section 21 Guide on Landlord Law.

However, if Labour enters government on 5 July, we can expect a rapid repeal of the section 21 no-fault rules.  Probably within the first 100 days.

Snippets

New holiday lets rules ‘may worsen housing crisis’
Named And Shamed – huge number of social housing landlords slammed
Students paying hundreds for ‘mouldy’ flats
Landlords: Who Are You Going To Vote For?

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #340 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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