Consultation:

The government has already indicated its preference for the introduction of a longer residential tenancy. This has implications for the existing short-hold tenancy and section 21 – it would be a radical shake-up for the private rented sector in England.

However, with the existing overloaded court system, this move would be impractical, chaotic and as the government undoutedly knows, would probably lead to the exodus of many more private landlords. Hence, a Housing Court needed to deal with housing disputes, fairly and expeditiously, is a prerequisite to any such change.  

- Advertisement -

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last year launched a consultation concerning the proposed ‘Housing Court’ which closes 11:45pm on 22 January 2019. This consultation entitled, “Considering the case for a Housing Court: call for evidence” the Government is inviting comments from all interested parties to share their experiences of the current system of courts and tribunals.

A press release from Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP at MHCLG indicates what the government has in mind: a major overhaul, not just to the courts and justice system regarding rental property, but to landlord and tenant law as well:

“Changes to further streamline court processes could also provide confidence for landlords to offer longer, more secure tenancies, by making it easier for responsible landlords who provide a high-quality service to regain possession of their tenancy should they need to do so.”

Many landlords fear this will include the end of section 21 notices and an end to the “no fault eviction” process which has recently been energetically campaigned against by Generation Rent, Shelter and Citizens Advice (CA), as well as by some prominent articles in sections of the print media.

A future Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Government has vowed to end “no-fault” evictions, a claim that many in the industry thought would never become law under the present government, but more recent noises from
MHCLG, although it has not explicitly stated it will scrap section 21 notices entirely, this cannot be ruled out.

Following major changes in other jurisdictions, in particular Scotland, it is clear the direction of travels seems set: discussion and policy proposals across the political spectrum now appear to be focussing on reforms which would make private sector tenancies more tenant friendly.

This is a move which of couse risks alientating landlords, at a time when good rental accommodation is in desperately short supply in many lcoations, and when private landlords are already feeling the effects of recent tax changes.

©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.

4 COMMENTS

  1. In Australia if a tenant doesn’t pay rent then a LL may after 1 rent payment shortfall 14 days later request poluce assist LL to remove tenant if tenant refuses to vacate.
    Consequently LL can let to almost anyobe in the knowledge that they could get rid of them very quickly if they choose.
    Funnily enough there are not any cases of tenants hanging around once they default on rent..They tebd to have vacated well before the police turn up to assist the LL to evict them.
    Wonder why!?
    There should be a similar situation in the UK.
    Many LL would be perfectly content to iffer lobg term tenabcies if they knew they could if they wished get rid of a rebt defaulting tenant very quickly.
    Rent defaulting tenants cost private LL in the UK over £9 billion in losses annually which of course means fewer taxes to the Treasury due to the length of time and cost it takes to evict.
    The eviction process for all other circunstances may remain the sane.
    As most eviction cases are for rent arrears just this simple change would imnediately reduce the pressure on County Courts.
    It would also have the magic effect on Councils ensuring that HB etc was paid to LL and UC would be changed to facilitate direct payment without clawback possibilities of rhe full contractual rent.
    But none of this will ever hapoen which is why LL will be increasingly picky over who they have as tenants.
    Rent defaulting tenants remain the biggest risk to the the LL business model.
    Remove that risk and the PRS becomes a far better place for LL and tenants alike.
    Personally if such a timely eviction process was introduced I would agree to an annual rent increase cap probably by CPI unless there were extraordinary circumstances such as Govt or Councils imposing further costs on LL.
    But all such sensible strategies will never come to pass.
    People just don’t like anything that means the LL can more easily be paid for the service he provides.
    Tenants are always portrayed as the eternal victim which is rarely the case.
    There is simply no way Govt will ever make it easy to get rid of rent defaulting tenants quicklyas then the costs of housing such tenants falls to Councils and that would cost them billions!

  2. I am certainly among those who feel that the increasing burden of new legislation, with it’s bias against landlords, is making an early exit from the sector a priority.
    Most landlords try to maintain a good standard under existing rules, exercising considerable patience with bureaucracy and difficult tenants, but there is a limit to what can be borne.

  3. The current system is so tenant focused its become beyond a joke, and yet there seems to be no end to the introduction of further laws and taxes. Its no surprise that many private landlords are selling up and moving on. I recently wrote to the minister for housing with a very good example of how a tenant can come in and trash the property, and there is little you can do because there are limits to deposits, and court action is incredibly expensive, and even when winning judgement you rarely see the money. Yet tenants on low income can sue their landlord for free, and there is no end of free support for them. I have been a landlord for over 20 years, yet over the last two years I have become much more wary of tenants that are taken on. I work closely with the council and used to take on many of their tenants, however, I have since stopped because the lack of protection for a landlord, particularly from both the council and judicial system. They talk about a housing crisis, well it will get worse, with more private landlords leaving the sector. It has become necessary for Landlords to become much more sceptical as to who they put in their properties, I pity any landlord who neglects to ask for references, and advise that they will sooner or later pay a very heavy price for such behaviour. Politicians also talk about longer tenancies, yet it is the banks and insurance companies, that are opposed to this, and nothing is said to them. Its okay for an insurance company to ask if you are housing professional people or social security, (and will increase your insurance policy if they are social security), which apparently is fine, however, whats not fine, is advertising no DSS? As always the landlords are the permanent bad guys, and whilst politicians get more votes from renters than they do from landlords, its fair to say they will continue to do nothing for landlords, promoting stories of those few landlords that ignore the rules, when most of us go above and beyond our duties. I am all for longer tenancies, especially where I have good tenants. Landlords do not make money on voids, so naturally the majority will agree, but the banks and mortgage companies won’t, and I don’t see anyone raising the issue with them. Its not a good time to be a landlord, and as it stands I see no balance in sight, and therefore, the housing crisis will get much worse.

  4. The situation has truly become a bad joke. Both Labour and the Conservatives now vie for who can punish landlords more. In fact it’s hard to believe that we actually have a ‘Conservative Party’ in power at all.

    Although I admit I have a vested interest, surely more than ever it is totally crazy to let any property without Landlord Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses insurance?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here