Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill 2018 – Letter of concernMake Text Bigger
Open letter to Gareth Johnson MP:
Dear Mr Johnson,
There is a lot of support among landlords for the above bill that seeks to provide a means by which tenants in clearly substandard Housing “Unfit for Human Habitation” can bring redress against what would be considered a ‘rogue landlord’ through the court.
As a (responsible) landlord, as you may know from previous correspondence, I have no problem with the aim of the Bill.
From my reading of it, I don’t see amendments or debate clarifying, I’d like to know what safeguards against misuse by ‘Rogue Tenants’, have been considered.
Unfortunately, this is another instance where the consideration or belief is that there are Only ‘Rogues’ on one side of the PRS sector.
There are Rogue or Criminal landlords, but not apparently that anyone acknowledges, Criminal tenants. Numerous acts or even omissions can label a landlord criminal, yet a tenant can never be regarded as such!
Damage, even where it can be demonstrably shown to be malicious, persistent refusal to pay thousands of pounds in rent lawfully due – in fact nothing a tenant does in the PRS is considered a criminal offence, let alone acted upon by the Police or even sanctioned for prosecution by the CPS.
The result of this is various strategies by landlords, from exiting the business (reducing rental stock) to being defensive over tenant selection. The effect of bad tenants on the majority of good tenants is unrecognised.
Whilst landlords have come to expect this perception from the Labour party, we do seek and hope that the Government are alive to both sides of the equation and are providing the necessary checks and balances.
I am of course referring to situations where a tenant is being served with a Section 21 Possession notice and not withstanding the already hugely impact delays (and subsequent costs) of this process cause to a
landlord, a tenant may ‘tactically’ choose to bring a claim for some alleged disrepair under this bill through the courts.
Some claims under the bill have the provision for legal aid (read, even further delays).
My concern is that there appears no early scrutiny and prevention of such claims. Further, that in the event of such a claim by a tenant, I would have little doubt that a court Possession process would be placed on hold – delayed.
I look forward to your serious consideration and hopefully, assistance in this matter.
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