Housing and Planning Act 2016Make Text Bigger
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/22/contents/enacted was approved by Parliament on 12th May and there will be a number of changes affecting landlords and property managers of residential properties.
Recovering abandoned premises
Currently, if a tenant has abandoned a residential property which has been let by a landlord, it is necessary for a landlord to issue proceedings for a possession order in the County Court and for that possession order to be enforced by a bailiff.
However, the Act contains a procedure for a landlord to recover possession of a property which it believes has been abandoned without the time and expense of Court proceedings.
Again, the detailed regulations behind these provisions is yet to be outlined but in broad terms, if there is outstanding rent and the landlord has served a series of warning notices in accordance with the Act to which the tenant/named occupier have not responded, then the landlord can bring the tenancy to an end without a court order for possession.
However, the tenant has the right to apply to the court to be reinstated within six months of the end of the tenancy if they had a good reason for failing to respond to the warning notices.
Whilst this procedure may potentially be quicker and cheaper than possession proceedings in the county court, the right of the tenant to apply for re-instatement provides some uncertainty for landlords and court proceedings may remain the best option.
Rogue landlords and letting agents
The Act enables local housing authorities to apply to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) for banning orders against rogue landlords or letting agents which once made prevent a person from letting or managing properties in England.
A banning order will be made for at least 12 months and also prevents the person who is subject to the banning order from transferring property to associated parties to be managed or let on their behalf.
There are serious sanctions for non-compliance with a banning order including imprisonment and/or a fine. The Act also provides for the creation of a database of rogue landlords and property agents.
The effectiveness of these provisions remains to be seen as the detail of the mechanism has not yet been drafted and the scheme is onerous upon local housing authorities in a period of austerity.
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