New regulations and retaliation eviction – can the councils cope?

by Paul Shamplina

8:31 AM, 1st October 2015
About 3 years ago

New regulations and retaliation eviction – can the councils cope?

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New regulations and retaliation eviction – can the councils cope?

landlord actionToday (Thursday 1st October), as part of The Deregulation Act 2015, a whole range of changes come into force which affect whether or not a landlord can serve a Section 21 notice on an assured shorthold tenancy (in England) as well as changes to the form itself.

However, following lengthy consultation, leading tenant eviction firm, Landlord Action, has raised concerns that not enough has been done to inform landlords of the changes and questions whether the Government has enough resources in place to properly enforce measures against so-called ‘retaliation eviction’.

Just some of the key changes which come into effect for new tenancies entered into from 1st October, include the use of the new prescribed Section 21 notice which combines fixed term and periodic. A section 21 notice can no longer be served in the first four months of a tenancy and a section 21 notice will now have a 6 month life span.

Despite recognising that the changes are in response to the ever growing private rental sector and a need for best practice there have been a lot of significant changes in a short amount of time and I would like to have seen the Government proportion a greater budget to educating landlords, particularly those that don’t use agents to manage their properties, to ensure they are up to speed with new legislation. We still receive calls to our advice line on a weekly basis from landlords who don’t know about the deposit scheme which came into effect 8 years ago.

Less than twelve months ago I sat before The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector at the Houses of Parliament arguing against a law on retaliation eviction. With just a small minority of rogue landlords guilty of such tactics I maintained tenants could abuse the system and use it to remain in properties rent free for longer.

As part of the Deregulation Act 2015, tenants will now have the first four months of a tenancy to file a complaint to a landlord with regards to issues of disrepair. Good landlords will deal with complaints within the given 14 days, but my concern is the level of resource the local authorities have in place to action environmental health officers to carry out inspections when staffing levels have been cut to the bone. Landlords’ circumstances can change and if they need to end their tenancy, but can’t because they are waiting for an inspection or to gain access from the tenant, landlords are going to lose valuable time.”

If a property is considered in disrepair, landlords are unable to serve a section 21 notice for 6 months from the date an improvement notice is served by the council.

I think this could lead to a huge spike in complaints from tenants. I am a bit fed up of all the frequent landlord bashing. It is about time there were more positive statements for landlords in the Private Rented Sector which now stands at approximately 19% of the housing market.

Landlord Action logoAbout Landlord Action:

Landlord Action is a UK based organisation helping landlords, letting agents and other property professionals. As a champion for landlords, it has campaigned extensively and was instrumental in getting the law changed to make squatting a criminal offence.

It was founded in 1999 as the first ever fixed-fee tenant eviction specialist, they revolutionised this area of legal practice. They have now acted in more than 32,000 problem tenant cases and are considered the authority in this field.

Contact Landlord Action

Specialists in tenant eviction and debt collection. Regulated by The Law Society.


Comments

Luke P

11:56 AM, 1st October 2015
About 3 years ago

From experience, I do not believe Councils can cope. As the article suggests, they will make the landlord wait until they can do an inspection -until they have a person available, the process will likely go on hold. There is a massive conflict of interest here for the Councils as they have the power to stall an eviction, one which they as the local authority may have to pick up the pieces from once the tenant is subsequently out on their ear, so have every reason to delay.

Recardo Knights

14:13 PM, 1st October 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Luke, I have only ever done one eviction because the tenant stopped paying rent. Although I was still lucky enough to be receiving 75% rent direct from the council their advice to the tenant was " if you leave before the bailiffs came, you have made yourself homeless and we do not have to rehouse you"

So in their interest to delay as long as possible as they have nowhere for the tenant to go. When a new tenant moves in the property is refurbished, with some if I give notice because they have turned it into a tip I loose money, and have to refurbish again so I let them stay knowing when they leave I have to put my hand in my pocket again.

The council never tell tenants to reinstate the property to it's original condition, But if they complain about a dripping gutter or broken fence caused by their dog a landlord cant give notice.

if I cant issue a S21 in the four months of a new 6 months tenancy, how can I get possession of my property after the 6 months. The notice has to be given a full 2 clear months before the end or the tenancy, so will it mean a 6 month AST will now become 7 months.

Luke P

15:17 PM, 1st October 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Recardo Knights" at "01/10/2015 - 14:13":

I get that 'made yourself homeless' line a lot. Technically a Council should consider a person homeless from the point a tenancy becomes untenable and/or is due to come to an end because of possession proceedings.

To get a property back bang on the last day of the six months, you need to serve notice (in person) at exactly 4 months and then it will expire on the last day of the six months.

David Price

11:57 AM, 2nd October 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Recardo Knights" at "01/10/2015 - 14:13":

Strictly six months and one day as the end date can now be any day of the month.

David Price

12:00 PM, 2nd October 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "01/10/2015 - 15:17":

Luke that is one day too early

8:44 AM, 3rd October 2015
About 3 years ago

David is right,of course, Just makes you wonder what and why this part of the legislation was introduced ? Because it potentially can give only One extra days security of tenure to a tenant ( over and above the previous 6 months ) , before Possession proceedings can be brought
Chris
http://www.landlordsmasterclass.com

David Price

10:16 AM, 3rd October 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Daniel" at "03/10/2015 - 08:44":

I believe that the root cause is that someone has not thought the problem through. It is much the same a gas certificates being valid for exactly a year rather than up to 13 months as for MOTs. The politicians in their ivory towers (actually the palace of Westminster is built from limestone from the Anston Quarry in Yorkshire) do not live in the real world and just pluck figures out of the air. I suspect that few are 'hands on' landlords.
It would have been much more logical to forbid the issue of a S21 during the first three months of a tenancy, this would have allowed for the elegant termination of the AST on the last day of the fixed period. It would also have ensured that the tenant could be given up to three months notice.


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