Renters (Reform) Bill: The countdown to a PRS disaster has started

Renters (Reform) Bill: The countdown to a PRS disaster has started

10:35 AM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago 10

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I thought it was too good to be true that the Renters (Reform) Bill would not make it through this Parliament.

And, sure enough, Dishy Rishi didn’t let me down.

At the last minute, as he was no doubt deciding which laws would make it into the King’s Speech, he added the Renters (Reform) Bill. Inspired thinking with an eye on an election next year, or just spiteful?

I don’t know which, but I think on Monday we got a good insight into what the government thinks of landlords in the private rented sector.

We already know they don’t hold us in high regard, but it was nice to have this confirmed.

Hands control of a landlord’s property to the tenant

I’ve mentioned before that the Bill is an assault on the sector and effectively hands control of a landlord’s property to the tenant.

This law is nothing but a disaster for landlords everywhere as it will undermine our rights and interests and create more problems for us and our tenants.

And it’s not just about the abolition of section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions which made the headlines this week as tenant activist groups again demanded that it ends.

Some media coverage also made the point that since it won’t happen this year, then thousands of tenants will be made homeless as heartless landlords hand out section 21 notices without a care.

I find it incredible that at no point is there an attempt at balancing the story. None.

No-one wants to know why a tenant might be evicted – just that there is ‘no-fault’ so the landlord must be bad.

If we as a sector don’t put this right during the passage of the Bill through Parliament, then we have only ourselves to blame.

Focus on the anti-social reasons for eviction

We also need to focus on the anti-social reasons for eviction – we need to stand up and say no neighbour will offer evidence of this type of wrongdoing. None.

Would you?

That means poor tenants will continue making the lives of neighbours – and not to say the landlord – miserable because there’s no catch-all process to evict.

And for those tenants who rack up huge arrears, can I just say that you don’t deserve to have a home to live in. Not in the PRS or in social housing.

You signed a contract to pay rent and then chose not to pay. That’s your decision to do that.

I will say that the local housing allowance is abysmal and does need increasing – at least landlords and the likes of Shelter can agree on that.

Though I was sad to see Shelter’s Polly Neate being quoted in the Financial Times with dubious statistics of people being made homeless.

Again, there’s no attempt by journalists to get a landlord’s perspective on the Bill’s contentious parts.

Countdown began on Monday for a PRS disaster

I say the countdown began on Monday for a PRS disaster when, in reality, it began long ago. The EPC improvement debacle and the Bill’s unveiling helped to put the skids under landlords.

But since new investors are heading into the PRS – because property investment will always turn a profit, right? – we get laughed at by critics who say landlords aren’t leaving.

But they are. Every landlord will know of other landlords who have thrown the towel in.

So, let’s see what happens in the coming weeks because I’m prepared to bet that by the time the Bill becomes law, that the total number of landlords will have fallen substantially.

We still have to get through another winter of critics demanding that rent controls be brought in during this ‘cost-of-living’ crisis. There’s always a crisis of some sort.

Though I’m not sure why critics think landlords aren’t affected by rising bills.

Process to evict a tenant gets longer

The courts also have huge backlogs, and we won’t be getting a dedicated housing court anymore and the process to evict a tenant gets longer. And then they won’t be paying rent!

I also fear that some of the grounds for eviction in the Bill will be too vague or subjective, and that tenants will be able to challenge them easily or abuse the process by making false allegations or counterclaims.

And that will slow the eviction process even further.

So why do we carry on? Why bother with the aggro?

For most of us it is because we have decent tenants who take care of our property.

And without us, they might (will?) struggle to find somewhere to live.

With fewer homes and fast-rising rents, lots of families are going to find out that as landlords leave they should have taken a closer interest in things like the Renters (Reform) Bill and what the potential impact would have been.

The countdown to PRS destruction

My biggest fear, along with the countdown to PRS destruction, is that the Bill will pick up amendments along the way that make being a landlord not only unpalatable but also turns us into pariahs.

Perhaps then, as families are crammed into B&Bs (because the posh hotels are packed with ‘new arrivals’) and rents take an even bigger chunk out of a renter’s take home pay, will the importance of the PRS really hit home?

That’s when as a sector we can say ‘We told you this would happen’ as families are living in tents or the government has to compulsorily buy homes to house people.

Then we might get to see some concessions – and I hope this happens before the Bill becomes law.

Because once the Renters (Reform) Bill is enacted, we will look at what is left of the private rented sector in disbelief that a law aimed at improving the lot of landlords and tenants had the opposite effect.

Though I’m sure we will still get the blame for selling up as a ‘selfish’ act.

Until next time,

The Landlord Crusader


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Comments

disgruntled landlord

11:14 AM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

the Skint councils who have managed council tax badly and the inept government who always have money for wars, ukrainian refugees and other pointless crusades but don't have money for useful enterprises are simply pushing the burden onto landlords who apparently have a bottomless pit of money to fund these freeloaders. All I'm seeing is rents going up property going up and an abundance of tenants looking for property. on the plus side this huge demand is creating better behaviour amongst my tenants and we should be more pickier as to who we allow to rent our property. hopefully this shortage of PRS property will weed out all the bad apple anti-social freeloading tenants.......

Suicide Jockey

11:34 AM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Before becoming a landlord I used to have a Residential Care Home for the elderly started in 1992. Back then the Conservatives were in government and regulation of the care industry was fair and it worked well so the industry just ticked along nicely.
Then when Labour became the next government under Tony Blair, Labour decided to go on a binge of new red tape and regulation for the care sector. By 2003 I'd had enough of the stress of increasing paper work and stupid policies, which is not caring, just over regulation to keep some cloned robotic bureaucratic inspector in a nice cushy job with a gold plated pension to look forward to when they retire early. To carry on owning a care home faced early death of a heart attack due to the crazy red tape stress of the care industry. So I got out and became a landlord instead.
Now when Labour form the next government (which is my worst nightmare come true, but I'm sure it will be) all Landlords will face the Labour vote winning tactics of unscrupulous regulation and anti landlord bashing to suit those sheep who vote for them. Not much too look forward too and another working industry that will be decimated.
Where have all the sensible politicians gone who recognise and support private business. Rather than those in power who are just looking to further their own money grabbing power status and big headed ego's!

Easy rider

12:03 PM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Still a long way to go before it reaches Royal Assent. It won’t happen before the next election, that’s virtually guaranteed.

Sunak just needs for the pressure to go away so he can herald low inflation. Low inflation being nearly three times the target.

Time to plan for a Labour government. Or worse, a coalition that includes the LibDems.

Crouchender

14:10 PM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Whatever gets watered down the RRB will be overturned by next years Labour government in their 100 day plan.
So any concessions will be short-lived

Neil T

14:22 PM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

While the removal of Section 21 'no fault' evictions does limit some landlord rights, the goal is to protect responsible tenants from unexpected evictions and homelessness. There are still valid reasons for eviction, such as rent arrears, property damage, or criminal activity. Landlords retain the ability to end tenancies for breach of contract.

At the same time, tenants do need to hold up their end of the agreement and meet their obligations. Irresponsible behaviour should still warrant eviction. The legislation aims to encourage proper leases and documentation of issues on both sides.

There are good landlords and good tenants, and all parties want a fair system. This law tries to balance property rights with tenant protections. Perhaps there is room for compromise - like limiting 'no fault' evictions after a minimum tenancy period.

. The goal should be housing that works for all.

Freda Blogs

16:08 PM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil T at 24/10/2023 - 14:22
The problem is, no-one is requiring tenants to hold up their end of the agreement.

The current system is already unreasonable for LLs, and the proposals are even more skewed in tenants' favour, hence LLs are afraid of delinquent tenants and being unable to recover possession - that's before we even start with the various other requirements being sought.

Being a PRS LL is becoming too risky with minimal financial returns, inadequate to cover the risk, especially when the reforms come in.

I prefer now to sell and put the proceeds into the bank or other investments and not have the hassle.

GlanACC

17:02 PM, 24th October 2023, About 8 months ago

I think that if you are receiving LHA, then that at the very least should be paid direct to the landlord (which in the past it was relatively easy to arrange), not so easy to arrange these days as it is assumed the tenant is a responsible adult and can manage their own finances .. if only ...

Voice of a landlord

9:48 AM, 25th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Action not words- Perhaps need to assemble our own spokespersons (not NLRA) with media clout to spearhead a PRS campaign. Any suggestions

Phil T

18:26 PM, 28th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Very happy to have sold up this year. Why deal with all the pending hassle and taxation on turnover.

Terrible for anyone trying to rent. Get out while you can

Fed Up Landlord

10:56 AM, 29th October 2023, About 8 months ago

Eight down and five to go. Sneer Snake Charmer can house the tenants when he gets in.

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