Petition to criminalise none payment of rent to landlords

by Property 118

10:12 AM, 2nd January 2013
About 6 years ago

Petition to criminalise none payment of rent to landlords

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Petition to criminalise none payment of rent to landlords
e-petition to criminalise none payment of rent to landlords

e-petition to criminalise none payment of rent to landlords

Housing Charity “Crisis” report that only 1.5% of private landlords will let their properties to housing benefits claimants. This is because the risks are considered to be too great. Make it a criminal offence not to pay rent, especially if Housing Benefits have been claimed for this purpose, and improve the eviction process for none payers and this will attract further investment into the sector, particularly the need for shared accommodation for single under 35’s claiming benefits. Without these changes the housing crisis will get worse as much needed specialist developments for this type of accommodation will not be considered to be viable.

The Government say they need support from the PRS. This needs to be reciprocated if the housing crisis is to be solved.

If 1 million Europeans came to the UK today would there be more or less rogue landlords? I suggest there would be a lot more “beds in sheds” and people would be afraid to complain for fear of losing the roof over their head. Getting the laws right will incentivise investment into development of much needed PRS accommodation, particularly shared housing for single benfits claimants under the age of 35.

Link to the e-petition

Associated reading and discussion

No job + no guarantor = No Home and Crisis wonder why?

Maslow’s Theory Applied to Landlords and Tenants

LHA Tenants and Advice to Landlords from John Paul @TheLHAExpert



Comments

Jonathan Clarke

12:44 PM, 2nd January 2013
About 6 years ago

Whilst I do believe and support the sentiment that not paying rent when due is tantamount to theft / fraud/ deception etc I cannot see it being made a criminal offence as it would simply overwhelm the police with the number of complaints. The legislation would be complex and often it would be one word against another so proving the case ` beyond all reasonable doubt `would prove problematic I fear. Also when arrested and inevitably bailed they presumably could not be bailed back to the address subject of the charge ( your property) which in effect is the scene of the crime! That would add insult to injury. I would be interested in seeing any workable proposals as a scoping exercise perhaps but I cant see it happening in the near to medium future to be honest

And to solve the problem though which clearly exists on a large scale I would prefer to see the LHA system dramatically improved so criminal legislation is not in fact required. It would easier, cheaper and workable in my view .

I would like to see LHA paid direct and in advance ( possibly 2 or 3 mths in advance) with a full deposit and full disclosure of data as a matter of course between council, landlord and tenant. There is no reason why this cannot be funded and introduced in my view. The council would proactively work with This would allay many of the natural and legitimate fears that landlords have about renting to the LHA market. Councils could also provide ( if required) additional management services and maintenance services to streamline it further.

The councils save millions by not having to build or acquire more council housing that they desperately need and the PRS landlords would get a viable sustainable business with a regular (almost predictable) income and would therefore feel more confident about investing in the LHA housing market for the future.

All parties would be the winner and it would bring us closer together working towards a common goal rather than the current divisive policies which simply have us raging at each other.

22:10 PM, 2nd January 2013
About 6 years ago

Non-payment not none payment.

23:12 PM, 2nd January 2013
About 6 years ago

Also, fewer not less landlords.

0:15 AM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

And "single benfits claimants" - is anyone proof-reading this stuff before it goes up?

Andre Gysler

13:53 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

To criminalize non payment of rent might be difficult, although the non-payer is depriving the landlord of what is rightfully theirs. After all, they still expect to be able to use the property.

However, in the case of LHA, surely it is a clear case of misappropriation of public funds and thus is clearly a case of benefit fraud. This, in my view, makes it the councils' duty to prosecute for benefit fraud (which in turn could lead to a criminal record) and the only legislation that would be needed is one that obligated councils to pursue housing benefit fraudsters.

With regard to the eviction process, this needs urgent and radical reform, namely in the form of quicker overall time to evict. Automatic bailiff eviction should take place on written submission from the landlord declaring possession was not gained by the eviction date. There is NO need for this to require another hearing, it just wastes more time and money.

A section 8 Notice needs more teeth! If you didn't pay your credit card bill for example, it wouldn't take long before you were served a County Court Summons and you certainly would not be leaving without a CCJ if you didn't pay in full within 30 days. So why is a Section 8 hearing so soft on non-payers?

A section 21 Notice should be reduced to 1 month's notice once periodic, as it is for a tenant serving notice on a LL. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If tenants need more time to vacate, it should be up to them to apply to the courts for extended time to vacate, not for the landlord to be exposed to potential non-payers for an absolute minimum of 3 months but in practice significantly longer. If granted, a breach of this extended liability should become Contempt of Court.

I don't know if you will agree with my views, but they would certainly change things and the onus would be put back onto the outgoing tenant to behave more reasonably and responsibly. The threat of a criminal record and / or jail time would certainly focus the mind.

Alex Williams

13:59 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

Firstly how can we ask for this to be done if we can't us the English language.

Secondly it would be a waste of Police time making the offence criminal in the broadest sense although failing to pass on LHA arguably could be criminalised. It could also be a criminal offence to sign up to a contract knowing or believing you can not pay or with the intention not to pay. Failing to pay rent, like failing to pay your credit cards, should remain a civil matter. There are far too many instances of things that should be civil offences being criminal nowadays.

There does however need to be a better easier way to evict people who don't pay, analogous to non-payers in hotels and the like.

There does though need to be less regulation in the sector. It seems to the observer that everything a landlord can do to a tenant is criminal and anything the tenant does to the landlord is either civil or inactionable.

Industry Observer

14:09 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

@Nitpicky Nickpicky

With all due respect if those three comments are the best you can contribute to the discussion I suggest you don't bother at all. I can't even find ythe third one that troubles you so much (single benfits?)

Now to the real issue.

I suggest everyone stops trying to change anything to do with LHA, how it is paid, how much and when, because it won't get you anywhere. This Govt, those before it and those to come, had a massive enough problem with a benefits system out of control before the credit crunch and the additional cuts forced on it.

Jonathan I would like it to rain only at night and for slugs to be banished from my garden. You'd like LHA paid in advance? Absolutely no way on earth will LHA ever be paid in advance, best you used to do about 10+ years ago was get it mid month two weeks adrift and two weeks in arrear (not Nitpicky arrear singular is correct).

The way to focus local and central govt minds on LHA payment problems is simple as is the solution to most problems. In this case it is for all Landlords not to take LHA tenants - refuse to take them and then see the pressure you put on the system.

Won't happen of course - as with solving any problem the issue is one of will, or lack of it, to implement the solution.

I know, I know, if no-one ever tried to change anything. But have you ever tried to get the world spinning in the opposite direction? Some things just cannot be changed - in this case the LHA system cannot afford the solutions Landlords propose.

Mark - stop wasting your time too trying to change the legal system for eviction. And it will never be made a criminal offence not to pay rent - not all tenants are LHA tenants remember (and by the way apparently 90-% of LHA recipients actually work, staggering statistic I know)

20:26 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

hi Industry Observer,
you forgot one thing; if you don't ask you have no chance of getting.

I truly believe we landlords have considerable power. we just have no idea how to use it because A. we are so fragmented and B. public opinion is very much against us.

we can change both of these. all we need is the will to ask.

20:46 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

hi Andre and Alex,
you both seem to be answering your own questions.

say a chap breaks into your house, steals your Rolex, is that a civil offence ? NO. you can phone the police and get a crime number because a crime has been committed.

that thief has deprived you of your property. could be a Rolex, your wives diamond rings, or your house, your rent. IT IS STILL THEFT OF PROPERTY. YOUR PROPERTY.

so why the distinction between criminal for goods and civil for other goods ?

it's not so much as what you are asking for but how you ask for it.

afterall, as a hotelier I can have a non payer arrested for not paying. sadly, quite often the amount involved is not worth the chase, the paperwork, the hours spent, so we invariably let it go.
Bit when it runs into thousands or even hundreds......WE apply different rules.

as for Mr. nickpicky, do you need help of some sort ? medical help maybe ?
of course, the clue is in the name. ha ha ha ha

Mark Alexander

21:30 PM, 3rd January 2013
About 6 years ago

I think Paul Barrett's Motor Home example was my favourite comparative analogy. I also like Cosmo's 'we'll fight em on the beach' attitude. Squatting was criminalised wasn't it, despite people saying it wouldn't be? I understand the counter arguments that have been levelled at my suggestion on this and many other forums but unless something changes the fact is that the housing problem is going to get worse. My petition seeks the things, 1) criminalise non-payment of rent, 2) criminalise the misuse of misappropriation of housing benefits, 3) improve possession laws. If we get any two of the three I will be delighted, one will make me happier and might help solve the housing crisis a bit. If anybody else has any better ideas then I will support those too. I don't have a monopoly on good ideas and, just as I make typo's, some of my ideas are not as good as others. I'm proud to be able to share my opinion though and that other readers here see me for what I am, a genuine bloke who wants to see the PRS prosper. I'm ever so slightly embarrassed about the typo's (not that much though!) but hey, I'm just a normal guy, I make mistakes, so what, don't we all?

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