Condensation is an issue that will affect many landlords and tenants as the cold weather arrives and it can be a difficult issue to deal with as our lead article this month explains – “The Condensation Conundrum”.
It will also have even more serious consequences for landlords if the proposed changes to the s21 process outlined in Sarah Teather’s Private Members’ Bill, which receives its second reading in November, becomes law.
The proposed change to the law would effectively take the control of some evictions out of the landlord’s hands and place it firmly in the hands and judgement of the local authority Environmental Health Officer (EHO) and the courts. This would be similar to the situation with the section 8 breach of contract process. In other words, in some situations, landlords would not be in a position to guarantee re-gaining possession of their property.
The 1st of October saw yet more regulatory demands on the private rented sector with the start of a new set of rules demanding that letting agents should join a redress scheme to handle complaints about bad practise.
New guidance has been issued since the start of the scheme which suggests landlords are letting agents or property managers in some circumstances and as such they would need to be registered if they undertake certain activities during the course of their business:
- Landlords are letting agents if they take instructions from a landlord to help find a tenant or from tenants to help them find a privately rented home
- Landlords are property managers if they arrange services, repairs, maintenance, improvement, or insurance or deal with any other aspect of the management of residential premises for another person
- The activities are conducted as a business – which generally means receiving a payment for carrying out the work.
Also the Government announced the requirement to do “right-to-rent” or immigration checks which will begin to affect some landlords taking in new tenants in the midlands area from 1 December. The full scheme is scheduled to roll out nationally from April 2015.
The Government has issued a Guide or Code of Practice document which provides guidance for landlords affected by the introduction of these checks.
The checks will include landlords who take in new tenants and lodgers or sub-let property after the start dates.
In most cases it will be possible to carry out the checks without contacting the Home Office. All you need to do is check evidence of a person’s identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permits and an online right-to-rent tool is being provided.
More changes to come, but this time it’s more favourable for landlords.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 was given royal assent in March 2014 and should in theory make the process of eviction in certain circumstances of Anti-Social behaviour easier.
This Act includes an amendment to the Housing Act 1988 bringing new mandatory grounds to ground 7 (ground 7A) for possession based on a tenant’s anti-social behaviour.
The changes affect the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) although the provisions affecting it are not yet in force. They will await a Commencement Order, hopefully sooner rather than later.
See the story: “Eviction for Anti-Social behaviour to be made easier” in this issue.
Tom Entwistle, October 2014