Landlords Ombudsman Coming Soon

Landlords Ombudsman Coming Soon

10:50 AM, 2nd October 2017, About 4 years ago 41

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Landlords Ombudsman membership is to become compulsory it seems.

In Theresa May’s interview on the Andrew Marr show (1st October 2017) she said that she wanted all private landlords to belong to a Redress Scheme like agents currently do, and that landlords should be incentivised to offer longer tenancies.

Three Ombudsman schemes already exist for agents but to date there has been no Landlords Ombudsman.

There were no details offered on these plans other than indicating more will be included in the Autumn Budget Statement on the 22nd November 2017. This is especially critical to understand how landlords will be incentivised to offer longer tenancies as the majority of Buy to Let mortgages preclude in their terms and conditions tenancies of longer than 12 months.

Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said at the Tory party conference: “We will make it mandatory for every landlord to be part of an ombudsman scheme, either directly, or through a letting agent. At the moment landlords, unlike letting agents, are not required to sign up to ombudsman schemes. We will change the law so that this becomes a requirement, giving all tenants access to quick and easy dispute resolution over issues like repairs and maintenance.”

On incentives for longer tenancies Javid said: “Working with the Treasury we will announce at the Autumn Budget a new set of incentives for landlords who offer tenancies of at least 12 months”

However, 12 month ASTs are already fairly common practice in the PRS and allowed under most Buy to Let mortgage T&C’s so it is unclear how much further the government is intending to go.

Javid also indicated there could be plans for a ‘Housing Court’ saying: “We will consult with the judiciary on the case for a new housing court to streamline the current system. We will explore whether a new housing court could improve existing court processes, reduce dependence on legal representation and encourage arbitration, with benefits for both tenants and landlords. We will consult with the judiciary on whether the introduction of a new Housing Court can meet the aim of saving time and money in dealing with disputes.”

Mark Alexander, founder of Property118 said: 

“If you have the right type of properties to attract long term, good quality tenants, don’t stitch yourself or your tenant up with a long term AST. Consider the benefits to all concerned of offering a Deed of Assurance instead. Give your tenants the peace of mind they want and an incentive for them to perform impeccably. It’s then a true win/win situation. Tenants know that if they perform you will have to pay up if you take possession of your property. On the flip side, you may well stand a far better chance of being able to attract the tenants you really want, a premium rent and less voids periods too. It will be interesting to see the detail in the Budget proposals and whether a 12 month AST with a six month break clause coupled with an Deed of Assurance will attract the “incentives”, which are scant on detail at this stage”

“Property118 and Cotswold Barristers are also in discussion with other organisations about the formation of The Landlords Ombudsman, details of which will be announced in due course”

More details about Deed of Assurance here >>>


by Mandy Thomson

11:28 AM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 08/10/2017 - 11:03
Yes - I agree, Romain was correct. I have passed the article about the case onto my manager and my other senior colleague. However, I believe their response will still be that in practice it's easier and safer to use the tried and tested s.21 route.

by Mark Alexander

11:49 AM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 08/10/2017 - 11:28
From what we have now learned, such a decision by your collegues would be neither safer nor easier because a s21 notice is only valid if a tenancy exists for which a s21 notice is also valid.

I think we have concluded that in the scenario we have been debating the tenancy has ended, hence doesn't exist.

by Mandy Thomson

12:18 PM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 08/10/2017 - 11:49Except that on the page from Landlord's Guild relating to Thompson v Thorpe and Thorpe-Taylor it states: "A section 21 notice was served on the tenants at around the same time as the notice to quit was given to us, so upon expiry, there was going to be multiple options for possession (rent arrears, notice to quit from tenant and section 21 notice)."
So if the s.21 route would not have been available, why was it being considered as an option?

by Mark Alexander

12:41 PM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 08/10/2017 - 12:18
That's a very good question Mandy.

I'd suggest that s21 was no more valid than if I were to serve one on you, even though you are not my tenant and don't live in one of my properties.

by Mandy Thomson

12:58 PM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 08/10/2017 - 12:41
The claimant in Thompson v Thorpe and Thorpe-Taylor was none other than Adrian Thompson, one of the CEOs of the Landlord's Guild who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable, so I don't believe he would entertain bringing a case that might be thrown out of court.

Reading between the lines, I would surmise that in practice a judge would have been likely to have accepted a claim pursuant to the s.21 on face value. The question of the tenant's NTQ would only have come up if the tenant brought it up as a defence, which I believe would have been unlikely (unless the tenant was very well advised and/or very well informed).

by Rob Crawford

14:12 PM, 8th October 2017, About 4 years ago

This thread is getting very confusing. We are talking about the introduction of an Ombudsman for Landlords and suddenly it's about the eviction of sub-let occupants! So back to the original point. If a tenant has a complaint about a landlord's actions who's property is managed by an agent and that agent's redress scheme is used by the tenant to complain then the agent, because of the landlord's actions, may forfeit their good record!! The result will be Managing Agents who are employed by landlords telling their landlords what they can and cannot do!! This is essentially the status quo today and probably why some agents are quite intolerant of their landlords. This is an argument to make all landlords join an ombudsman scheme, the complaint can then be dealt with by the most appropriate redress scheme - but what a nightmare. Just imagine the blame culture that will be created! The point I am trying to make is that much more thinking needs to go into these political strategies, otherwise improvements will not be forthcoming!

by Mandy Thomson

6:30 AM, 9th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mandy Thomson at 08/10/2017 - 12:58Rob has a valid point about this off topic conversation on this thread, but it is an important piece of knowledge for landlords and tenants so I believe the final question, why they were considering enforcing against s.21 and s.8, needs answering.
I posed the question to the Landlords Guild, and I was told that they were considering enforcing against one of the landlord's notices before the tenant's NTQ expired, but that expired first so they based their possession claim on that.

I also asked about the legal possession route used. The answer was, "They’re not technically trespassers when they remain, they just have to be treated as a trespasser." And went they confirmed standard, not trespasser used.

by Ingrid Bacsa

14:40 PM, 16th October 2017, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 02/10/2017 - 11:28
How about a Tenants' Ombudsman?
Why should we have to spend a fortune to litigate in court when tenants have robbed us or abused our property or turned it into an anti-social hub causing council's penalties to landlords to boot??? Who is looking out for we much needed home suppliers??

by Rob Crawford

15:36 PM, 16th October 2017, About 4 years ago

The reason why there is not a tenants ombudsman is because they are the party in receipt of the service.

by Ingrid Bacsa

19:15 PM, 16th October 2017, About 4 years ago

I will remember that and double their deposits.

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