Tenancy Laws:

As a parting shot from resigning Prime Minister, Theresa May, the UK Government is launching a 12-week consultation on Tenancy Law Reform in England. It is thought the outcome will be a report setting out in detail some major changes – what the Government policy will be on renting going forward.

The Government has already said it wants to prevent private landlords from evicting tenants at short notice, and without good reason. So the no-fault Section 21 eviction process is likely to go, if not be drastically amended.

It has said it will amend the Section 8 eviction procedure and expedite the court process so that landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property where tenants fall into rent arrears or cause damage. However, given the state of the county court system, many experts are sceptical that this can be achieved with the current setup.

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Any such change as suggested would mean a fairly drastic amendment to the 1988 Housing Act, in effect removing the 30 years-old Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) regime from the legislation, in order to abolish the Section 21 eviction procedure.

Views will be sought on:

What impact will removing ASTs have on the market and landlord and tenants?

Will the reforms include the social rented sector?

When can eviction take place without the tenant being at fault?

How can the grounds for possession be reformed?

What new grounds would be needed?

How can the Section 8 possession procedure be improved by the courts?

A New Deal for Renting Resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants: A consultation, which can be viewed here

The Government has assured that any changes will not be retrospective – existing tenancies will be unchanged.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is said to be working with the Ministry of Justice on reforms to the court process. This could include using more IT, greater digitalisation and an accelerated procedure.

Separately, there is also a concrete proposal to give tenants access to the blacklisted landlords database under new government plans. This new proposal if implemented would give tenants access to a register which is currently only available to local authorities. It would allow them to search landlords and letting agents by name to check on their track records.

With the effects of the recently implemented tenants’ fees ban yet to be felt, the Government must surely be aware there’s a danger that such rapid change could affect landlord sentiment to the sector negatively at a time when rented accommodation in many parts of the country is in short supply.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I sent this to their idiot consultation process…

    First of all I am absolutely sick and tired of government suggesting that landlords ‘evict tenants without good reason’!

    No landlord in his or her right mind evicts good tenants who are paying rent and keeping the property in good order. The suggestion is that maybe some landlords evict tenants so they can jack the rent up a bit by getting rid of their current tenants and getting in new ones at a higher rent.

    Only a cretin would do this! I personally have good tenants who have occupied one of my properties for over 15 years, during which time I have only raised the rent from £1300 pcm to £1450 pcm. The ‘market rate’ is about £1750 pcm.

    So why don’t I evict them to get another £300 pcm? Because of the following reasons:

    1) I will have to completely re-carpet and re-decorate the flat once they have gone.This could cost say £3000 easily.
    2) I will then be faced with a void period of up to two months = £2900
    3) I will have to find an agent that won’t completely rip me off but I’ll still have to pay them at least 8% plus VAT. So assuming they get me £1700 pcm, that’s £2448.
    4) I will need to pay to reference said tenants – say £50
    5) I will need to pay an Inventory company – say £150
    6) I will have to have a fresh gas/electricity certificate – say £150
    7) I will need to buy landlord rent protection insurance etc- say £150

    And at the end of all that I will have to hope to god that they will pay their rent and won’t trash my property!

    So, I will have spent very approximately £8800.00 to buy…the uncertainty of getting another £300 pcm.

  2. Brilliant analogy Malcolm.

    When will Gov start listening to those that understand the PRS? Clearly, listening to their current advisers is no more valuable than listening to a repeating tape of white noise.

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