Landlord Law Newsround #342

Landlord Law Blog NewsroundWelcome to our first Newsround for June, let’s see what has caught our eye this week in the housing news.

Landlords take on legal challenge on councils licensing

We have written on this blog many times lately about the rising number of councils introducing licensing schemes in records numbers, and this week Middlesbrough Council is under the spot light where they have now had legal action taken against them by two un-named landlords.

The landlords claim this selective licensing scheme is ‘rapacious’ and ‘unreasonable’ and will prevent other landlords from investing in the area. The council want to charge £998 and it is due to begin next month, the landlords claim it is unlawful. They state that the council did not comply with mandatory requirements and that they relied on data regarding anti social behaviour from other parts of the ward to justify licensing in the new area, and the council has not considered other options before opting for licensing.

The scheme, if it goes ahead will run for five years and has been increased from £820. The legal action will now put the July start date of the scheme into doubt. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Court delays must not be overlooked

Now that the Renters Reform Bill will not be passed through parliament, there is a growing concern that court reforms should still be high on the next governments agenda. Law firm, Payne Hicks Beach says that if the new government bans no fault evictions before reforming the courts, it will only make the court system worse and in most parts unworkable, and by solving one problem they will be creating another one, both issues need to be addressed at the same time. They said

Renters are unhappy that they can be evicted without good reason, but on the other side of the equation, landlords have to satisfy numerous conditions before they can serve a satisfactory section 21 notice, and the large number of county court judgements dealing with how those conditions are satisfied leads to a climate of uncertainty where even landlords who have been legally advised cannot be confident that their possession claims will ultimately succeed at court.

We will have to see how this is addressed when the new government is announced.

Note that I also wrote about this here.

Landlords are not the problem to the housing crisis – claim

A leading property lawyer, David Smith from JMW Solicitors, has spoken out for landlords and says that the new government must work with private landlords if the housing crisis is to be fixed. He says

Effective housing provision is not about choosing one type of housing or one provider over another but about bringing together all participants behind a centralised vision.

He states that rural planning systems are no longer fit for purpose post covid era, and new housing needs to have all the right networks in place such as local services, places of work, health and education.

You can read more here.

How ‘landlord bashing’ just makes things worse

Another article on LandlordZone blames ‘landlord bashing’ for discouraging the smaller landlords who are leaving the sector.  These are the landlords who care and who look after their tenants.

Remaining will be the larger landlords who are only interested in the bottom line.  Bruce Haagensen reported in the article states:

The bigger, portfolio landlords are the ones staying in the market and they only seem interested in the bottom line – they aren’t doing the repairs because that costs money.

We’ll be left with a sizeable private sector that is similar to the social sector, namely sub-standard, as most instances of damp and mould tend to be in social houses.

Growing pressure for EPC reform

It seems that the growing concern that EPC’s are not fit for purpose is not going away. Some organisations are now unhappy about the 10-year validity of an EPC. The Observer has carried out a study of houses on the market where the EPC’s were up to nine years old, with EPC’s giving inaccurate information regarding how much improvements would cost.

A representative of Which? says that the 10-year validity of an EPC should be cut to five years, whilst Propertymark show concern over how quickly an EPC is produced and how little it can cost with a large variety of companies offering varying amounts to carry out an EPC. They say

We know agents have concerns about consistency – five different assessors would probably come up with five different EPCs.

We will have to look to the new government for any update on this reform.

Snippets

Tenants continue to stay longer in homes, new research reveals
Tougher HMO restrictions begin in East of England
Controversial landlord calls on Reform to back landlords with tax breaks
Can heatpumps be installed in older properties?
Letting agents flag huge worries over landlords leaving market

Newsround will be back next week.

The post Landlord Law Newsround #342 appeared first on The Landlord Law Blog.

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