It is though highly likely that the Tenancies (Reform) Bill 2014-15 introduced as a Private Member’s Bill to prevent so called retaliatory eviction, by Sarah Teather, and now added to the currently progressing Deregulation Bill 2014-15, will likely become law before the expiry of the Coalition Government and the coming general election.
The irony should not be lost on landlords that “a bill to make provision for the reduction of burdens resulting from legislation for businesses or other organisations or for individuals” should result in some even more complex regulations that private landlords will have to deal with.
Under the Bill the Government is to introduce new measures for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) which will:
1 – Effectively prevent so called retaliatory of “revenge” evictions where landlords are thought to evict their tenants when faced with complaints about the condition of the property. This is the most complex section of the proposed legislation affecting landlords and has the potential to delay the eviction process substantially where tenants make complaints about repairs.
2 – Prevent landlords and their agents serving section 21 notices early, that is soon after the start of a tenancy and setting a limit to the time the s21 notice remains effective.
3 – The simplification and standardisation of the section 21 notice by the use of a prescribed form notice, and ending the common confusion over s21 notice dates by removing the requirement to have periodic notices ending on the last day of a tenancy period.
4 – Preventing the service of a valid s21 notice where the landlord is in breach of a range of legal requirements, in addition to the current deposit and licensing requirements, which will now include Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Gas Safety Certificates.
5 – The Bill is also to contain measures designed to remove the on-going confusion over the Deposit Protection regulations following the Superstrike v. Rodrigues and Charalambous & Anor v Maureen Rosairie NG Court of Appeal cases.
The Bill will be debated again in full by the Lords on March 4 before returning to the Commons for its final reading. It is likely that it will be passed by MPs and receive Royal Assent, becoming law on 30th March 2015.
The main item affecting landlords from the amendments passed last week by the Lords will be that if and when the Bill becomes law, when a complaint alleging disrepair is received by a residential landlord, the local authority housing inspectors will become involved if the landlord cannot resolve the matter within 14 days. This could then delay the possibility of serving a valid eviction notice to a minimum of 6 months wait.
Although provision is made in the Bill to restore a situation where tenant might bring an unjustified complaint, used perhaps as a delaying tactic, for example when in arrears with rent payments, there does not appear to be any consequence or penalty on the tenant for taking such action.
Landlords and the landlord associations have expressed concerns about possible extended delays in cases where evictions are justified, especially as local authority housing officers and the courts are known to be overloaded and under resourced, even before this legislation appears.
Policy statement on amendment to Deregulation Bill
Deregulation Bill brings in MORE Regulations – http://t.co/bHYHOGc6Jk
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) February 18, 2015